St John Paul College students learn stewardship on the headland

St John Paul College students and teachers on Boambee headland to work with Landcare on planting and weeding, where Aunty Vicki Filewood gave a Welcome to Country.

LANDCARE has partnered with St John Paul College, Coffs Harbour in an educational project for Year 10 students centred around stewardship of our natural environment.

Some 150 St John Paul College students, hosted onsite at Boambee Headland by Landcare and Coastal Works, worked together from Monday 27 to Friday 31 March.

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Barry Powells, President of Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare (CHRL), oversaw the activities, assisted by Landcare volunteers and the Coastal Works bush regeneration team led by Aaron Hartley.

“The students were introduced to the many different plant communities found on this coastal headland and were engaged in some basic weeding and planting trees to help with the re-vegetation process after the 2021 October hail storm,” Barry told News Of The Area.

Michael Stubbs, Assistant Principal at St John Paul College, said the opportunity to work with Landcare “provides the students with a real experience of putting what they have learned about stewardship into action”.

In the afternoon the students linked their practical learning with an activity where they took three photographs: one showing something beautiful and natural, one picture of how humans and nature are working together and one picture of where humans have destroyed a natural environment… such as dropping rubbish.

“They then had to write 100-150 words linking why they had chosen those pictures and linked it in with a gospel passage that tells us we’re doing the right thing,” Michael told NOTA.

“Here they can experience caring for creation and serving one another.”

Nic Morgan, a PDHPE teacher at St John Paul College told NOTA, “Giving back is possibly the best thing we can do.
“This work today gives us a chance to see what we can do for the future generations.

“It connects the kids to the beauty of the Gumbaynggirr land we’re lucky enough to be standing on.

“It gives kids hands-on experience of what Landcare and Coastal Works do – it’s an experience that may change a kid’s life course to include looking after the land,” he said.

Barry Powell said Landcare hopes to help students develop a greater understanding of the natural diversity of our local area and the importance of not just maintaining it, but to improve it where necessary.

“The massive damage done by the hail storm in October 2021 and the reclamation work Landcare is doing is a good example of the latter,” Barry said.

“Involving the local community has always been a long term goal of mine and we are delighted to have this first opportunity for us to work on-ground with these students to share firsthand knowledge of what is involved in site preparation with activities such as strategic weeding, choice of species to plant and why them specifically, planting and the placing of tree protection guards to prevent them being eaten by wallabies of which there is a good population on the headland.

“We will also explain the importance of follow-up maintenance, to water if necessary and keep weeds at bay.

“Each day the groups were taken on a rainforest walk around the headland to highlight the amazing diversity found here.

“On the site there are eleven different ecological plant habitats with over 160 species identified being found within this headland area,” said Barry.

“Great thanks go to Coastal Works who couldn’t have been more helpful with this project; thanks to Aaron Hartley and his team.”


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