We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful natural resource located next to St John’s and two years ago we set out on a journey to better utilise the Belair National Park as an educational resource. In order to achieve this goal we accessed the expertise and knowledge of Natural Resource Management and Amanda Dudgeon, a local Park Ranger at the Belair National Park. Staff collaborated as year levels and planned out a series of signature learning experiences that would utilise the National Park as a resource and take student learning to the next level. As well as environmental science learning, staff wanted to encourage families in the near community to utilise the park after hours and on weekends. Many of the year levels have included a service learning aspect to their work in the park as a way of giving back to the community. Some of the fantastic learning opportunities within the park include;
Our Reception classes have been working with NRM to propagate native seeds. In November 2018 the Reception students collected native seed in the Belair National Park. These seeds were then sorted and identified with the help of NRM back at school and kept until March 2019. In March the current Receptions then planted the seeds in tubes ready to plant back in an area of the Belair Naitonal Park that needs them. These seedlings will be ready to plant in November. The current Receptions will then collect more seeds to start the process again.
As part of our Year 2 STEAM rotations where students rotate through four weeks each of Augmented reality, Rocketry, Coding and the Belair National Park ranger program. The Belair National Park Junior Ranger program looks at the 27 species of mammals that can be located within the park and teaches students how they can look for signs of these mammals such as through scratchings, scat and eaten vegetation and tracks near burrows. Students also look at the important role ants play in the environment as well as some ornithology (Study of birds).
Southern Bandicoot numbers are at a critically low number through the Mt Lofty Ranges. Year 3 have been investigating some of the reasons for this. Lack of native vegetation is one of the reasons associated with the low number. Year 3 students have therefore been working on revegetating an area with the national park. They have done this by undertaking research on the plants needed for Bandicoot numbers to thrive as well as revegetating areas within the park where the bandicoots live.
This year our students in Year 6 have been working to develop and adventure path for kids, by kids along the Valley loop walk within the Belair National Park. In order to design the adventure path students have undertaken some research about the plants and animals that are located along the Valley Loop walk. With the help of NRM education officers our students were able to help identify which plants and trees were introduced species and which were native species. Information about the issues caused by some of the introduced plants and animals were also highlighted. The information gained was then collated by the students and points along the Valley loop walk were identified. Information about plants, animals, historical significance or fun things that could be done at each of these points were then made into small videos and made into QR codes. The QR codes are then inserted onto a brochure that families can take with them along the path where you are able to gain insight into all of the wonderful learning that has taken place in Year 6.
Deputy Head of Junior School