School’s big gardening grant

Students from Montrose Primary School planting native plants. 197814 Picture: ROMY STEPHENS

The Montrose Primary School has gained a major boost to its gardening program after receiving a $10,000 grant to go towards its planned Indigenous gardens.

The grant, from Bendigo Bank Montrose, is set to help create a Bunjil the Eagle sculpture in one of the school’s front gardens.

Teacher Xavier Nowicki applied for the grant and leads the gardening program at Montrose Primary School.

He said he hoped the Indigenous sculpture and planned gardens would not only allow for the recognition of Australian history but also encourage student learning.

“Over the past few years, I’ve wanted to try and help the school community significantly acknowledge and celebrate the Indigenous culture,” he said.

“But finding a respectful and meaningful way of doing it has been a challenge.

“We’ve had some Indigenous authors and visitors come out to the school which has been fantastic.

“But I thought if we get some prominent anchorage points around the school that constantly are there, one as a celebration, but also to prompt questions and deeper investigation and understanding of Indigenous culture.”

The school’s gardening program allows students from any year level to come together and work on the school’s gardens every Friday at recess and lunchtime.

Grade 4 student, Hayden, said the program brings students together and helps diversify the school’s flora and fauna.

“I like being in the program because it’s fun. I like helping the kids and when kids don’t have anything to play they’re all welcome to come play in the garden,” he said.

“When we’re planting we’re bringing nature back because the only things we get are Magpies and occasionally possums and crows.

“But with this, we will get more animals coming and different types of birds.”

Grade 5 student Ryan said he was surprised at how popular the gardening program had become.

“From when we first started it’s been a massive progress,” he said.

“Our program is to show kids that it’s not just for cool kids, it’s for anyone.”

The sculpture ﹘ set to be created by chainsaw artist Leigh Conkie ﹘ will feature within a planned Indigenous trail through the school grounds.