Fabric of Mud

Some reflections after our event on Saturday June 24.

Fabric of Mud was the work of local people who are interested in bringing together our natural heritage along the river, with the forces that have shaped it, and the stories of the people who have been part of the fabric of the land.

In our busy lives, it is difficult to give our children a connection with their local natural environment.

It is difficult to give all children the chance to get their hands dirty in our soil and consider our place in the continuum of our landscape.

Many adults don't have the stories and knowledge of our natural and cultural heritage, which makes it more difficult to impart. However there is a place where this can occur. Some of the last of our urban bushland exists around our schools. Perhaps this bushland is actually a gift to future generations. As we build nature playgrounds, perhaps we could look a little further to the bush a few meters away. A place for our children, many of whom come from all over the world, to learn to observe, connect and be part of the forces that shaped our natural vegetation and landscape.

Last week students from a local school planted 80 Banksia and Marri Tree seedlings in their school grounds. Students drew the plants, they noted the features of the plants, they considered the plants as producers, supporting our Swan Coastal Plain food chain. They reviewed the history of the name Banksia and the Noongar names for the plants and uses of the plants, from a visit to Kings Park.

Students learnt how to plant these seedlings, some of which they grew from seed with the help of a Trillion Trees volunteer, in the soil of their community. They wrote the planting instructions and a recount of the activity. The whole experience was free.

With all of the competing interests for family time outside of school, we have to be smarter about how we include these connections between land, culture, art, history, science and geography in our school curriculum.

It was intense and having 30 kids outside planting is pretty messy. The plants may not all survive, but the kids had a great time learning, in the bushland they do have access to.

Nature is also a free source of happiness, in an increasingly complex world.

Published on the Environment House Facebook page by Rachael Roberts - 27 June 2018.