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Student involvement in Track maintenance – Spirit of Play Community School, Denmark

The Spirit of Play Community School (PP – Year 6) have been looking after their section of Track since 2017. As part of the Newmont ‘Eyes on the Ground’ Track maintenance program, the school have the sectional allocation from Ocean Beach Road to the trailhead at the Denmark River mouth.

The school’s Walkabout program sees all core classes (English, Maths, Science, Physical Education, Art and HASS) spend one day each week outside the classroom. It includes walking for all students, with the distance suited to their age. The students also cycle, as a large part of the section is dual-use pathway. According to teacher and Track maintenance coordinator, Olly Watkins, the students use texts, websites, maps, and the knowledge of local Noongar Educators and Elders to learn about local plants, animals, insects and fungi; and also Denmark’s history.  “The kids love to see what they can find along the Track and notice the difference during the different Noongar Seasons”.

With the support of the Shire of Denmark, they have been involved in planting in the creek line opposite the school, where the Track approaches the river mouth. Through engagement with the South Coast Bush Care service, they carry out weeding and bush care on different sections of the Track.

Other adventures take them further afield. Recently, as part of a Refugee Ration Challenge, a group walked 11km from the school, along the Heritage Trail, to the Hay River. Two years ago, a four-day expedition by the Upper Primary students involved cycling to the Booner Mundak shelter on the Munda Biddi Trail; then cycling to the Tree Top Walk and walking in to the Bibbulmun Track Giants campsite; then walking to the Frankland River (camping on a nearby farm); then completing the trip by paddling to Nornalup.

It’s fair to say that these kids are getting a great taste of the natural world through their outdoors education! We hope this enjoyment continues and thank them very much for their contribution to the Bibbulmun Track.