Watering the new native plants provided by the Craney Small Grant at Glebe Public School (photo: Erinn Panaretos)

By Erinn Panaretos, Year 1 Classroom Teacher, Glebe Public School, March 2022, from Bulletin 1/2022

The Craney Small Grants Program has generously provided Glebe Public School with the opportunity to inform, educate and enact sustainable practices and programs across our school. The $2,000 grant, for the Glebe Public School Environment Project, allowed us to significantly improve our existing outdoor learning space and bush tucker garden through the purchase of plants, gardening equipment and a native beehive.

We established a Gardening Club Program to improve student well-being, increase their understanding of sustainable practices and promote an appreciation for nature and their local environment. Many students attend the weekly club where they utilise the new equipment to learn about and maintain our gardens.

We purchased a variety of bush tucker and local native plants for our outdoor classroom space, many of which were specifically selected to improve biodiversity by attracting local fauna. The addition of native plants has helped to transform the area into a space where lessons, programs and workshops can be held. Educators and local experts have a facility in which to deliver authentic and hands-on learning experiences that promote sustainable practices and embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

Stingless native bees were added to our outdoor classroom to assist in the pollination of plants and for students to safely explore, engage and experience bees in the environment. Using upcycled and natural materials, we also created a Bug Hotel to promote biodiversity and provide students with engaging learning experiences; for example, observing insects in their habitats and learning about their life cycles.

The Craney Small Grants Program has provided countless opportunities to develop lifelong learners, strengthen community ties and foster students’ sense of belonging, and love of nature.