In Term 3 2019, Holy Family School Skennars Head was very fortunate to receive an Independent Education Union (IEU) Environment Grant, sponsored by Teachers Mutual Bank (TMB) of $1500 to initiate the Koala Tree Forest Project. The funds were used to purchase tree guards for 300 trees to be planted on school wetland between the school carpark and oval. Garden stakes, fertiliser, weed control chemicals and hoses were also purchased with the IEU/TMB grant funds.
Many senior Holy Family students were involved in the essential pre-planting stage of site preparation in the wetland. The students removed piles of dead branches and palm fronds from the planting site and also helped to flatten the tall bull rushes that covered the site. Once flattened, the dead bull rushes served as very effective mulch when the trees were planted.
During Term 3 last year, under the supervision of Landcare volunteers Wally Hueneke, Jos Webber and Peter Cassidy, Holy Family’s primary classes planted out 300 koala trees in the school wetland. Each child planted and mulched a tree and assisted in constructing a tree guard around the tree to protect it from brush turkeys and wallabies.
The trees are thriving in the new plantation with many doubling in size by the beginning of the new school year. A group of Year 6 girls has taken on the responsibility of monitoring the growth rates of a sample of the different trees in the plantation.
The girls will measure and record the heights of the trees every month during 2020 and display their monitoring results on a noticeboard for other students to see.
We hope that in the not too distant future our forest will have grown sufficiently well to support a family of koalas easily.
The Holy Family School community wishes to express its gratitude to the IEU and TMB for the environmental grant funds which have allowed us to make a very promising start to creating wonderful koala tree forest.