Year 8 students Jemima and Charlotte took part in a recent 'Pick It Up and Bin It' event in Brunswick Heads, collecting six shopping bags of litter from Torakina Park, Brunswick Heads. The regular park clean ups are part of a Positive Change for Marine Life campaign that aims to reduce litter in our seaside parks.
Coordinator Emalee Kinsella said the Shearwater students helped save 54 litres of litter from entering our waterways. "We can't thank Jemima and Charlotte enough for giving up their Saturday afternoon to help us with this journey."
In 2001, when I started at Shearwater, the Class 7s had just planted the first trees at the eastern end of the creek. 17 years later, some of those trees have trunks too large to wrap your arms around, and we have weeded and planted along the entire length of our 1.8 km of creek bank.
In the first half of this year, Heather's and Sally’s Class 7s continued the excellent work begun by Harry's and Michael’s classes last year, removing weeds and planting along the western end of the creek, finally reaching the School’s western border.
This work has been supported by the NSW Government's Environmental Trust, as well as a $3850 Eco-Schools Grant, to cover bush regeneration at the far western end of the creek during 2017 and 2018.
This year’s Class 7s planted a massive 727 trees and 162 lomandra, bringing the total number of trees planted under this grant to 1084 and lomandra to 244. To satisfy the grant targets we still need to plant more lomandra along the creek bank to assist erosion control, and that will happen over the next few months.
Some sections of this massive bush regeneration project have succeeded better than others, for various reasons, and it is my hope that we can spend the next 17 years and beyond continuing the good work of regenerating our section of Mullumbimby Creek’s sub-tropical rainforest.
If you wish to visit these latest works, take a walk past the Farm on the south side, turn at the marvel of our enormous rare Coolamon and you will be able to see the progress of the last four years of planting.
Coordinator Gardening and Bush Regeneration
Multi-award-winning designer and Year 12 Shearwater student, Oceana Piccone, has been awarded the Youth prize at the prestigious Wearable Art Mandurah for Morphett'e - a costume made from hundreds of recycled plastic bags. Morphett'e was also a section-winner at Shearwater's 2017 Wearable Arts performance event. Oceana, who has been creating costumes for the Shearwater event since she was 12, is no stranger to success - wowing the judges and winning prizes for each of the costumes she has created over the past five years. Nonetheless she says she was "thrilled" to have won her section of the Mandurah event, which saw her costume modelled by a professional ballerina and star in a photo shoot. "I almost didn't enter it because the postage was so expensive!" she said.
Oceana, who has been accepted into LCI Melbourne Art and Design School to study a Bachelor of Design Arts in Fashion & Costume Design, said a recent revelation had steered her away from the fashion industry. "The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world [next to oil]," said Oceana. "I don't want to contribute to that. I want to use my art to make the world a better place."
Oceana said she would continue making Wearable Art post-Shearwater, as well as painting and photography, with a focus on using recycled fabrics and materials and found objects.
With three major works for Visual Art, Photography and Design & Technology nearing completion, Oceana, who has been a Shearwater student since Class 2, credits the School with fostering her creativity. "As well as all the painting and drawing and making things, I've had so much encouragement along the way," she said.
With plans to exhibit and sell her collection of paintings before she heads off to Melbourne, Oceana invites people to check out her website and stand-by for details of how you can buy an Oceana Piccone original.
The children in class 3A have recently set out into the mountainous terrain of Lamington National Park for a three-night camp, where they soaked up the scenery, the camaraderie and the challenge. It is the long walks, the sitting by the fireside, the sunrises, the delicious meals and the cosy cottage that we remember most. Oh, and not to forget the flying fox, that got us zooming, ecstatic, through the high trees.
We started by visiting Natural Bridge, where the children were surprised by Rosina who brought all their gnomes out there, a craft project that the class had worked on for an entire year. The children took their beloved gnomes everywhere and cuddled them at night.
At Binna Burra, Groom’s Cottage was our cosy home, built in 1935 by Arthur Groom, with spectacular views all the way to the ocean. This is where we watched the rising sun every morning.
A highlight was the second walk we did (meant to be a short one!), which led us to an enormous cliff with breathtaking views. We snacked on apples and bananas and trotted all the way back, a real challenge for some but likewise a great achievement. Oh, how we welcomed lunch and afternoon tea after that, served at the same time!
The carrying bags up the hill, helping prepare meals, negotiating one’s place in the bunk beds, persevering on the long walks, looking after one another – all these shape a community so caring and tight, observable now that we are back at school. The mood has changed, challenge and effort transformed into perseverance and trust. Being immersed in nature for so many hours a day, deep in the forest, amongst giant trees, boulders held by a web of roots, colourful mushrooms and strangely spiky plants – the children experience an environment away from their usual one, perhaps out of their comfort zones and certainly with different rhythms. Then, new identities and relationships emerge, and a new interest and tolerance for the other, too.
We are very grateful to our wonderful parent helpers Meggie, Ziv and Oren and our accomplished camper Sophie, who ensured that our bellies were full, the cottage was warm, the children accompanied safely on the walks and our wellbeing tended to. It was with glowing faces that we arrived back home, wonderfully exhausted and so proud!
Class 3 Teacher
Not all classrooms have walls. The Year 11 Marine Studies students have been working towards gaining their boat licences. Students have been working through the theory content online while also receiving real-life lessons from wise man Nick Thorne. Practical boating experience, in the company of an experienced skipper, is a key requirement for obtaining a boat licence. so it is great the students can gain this experience during class time. A boat licence allows students to operate a power-driven vessel on NSW waters over 10 knots and is an important step to obtaining employment in the marine industry.
Speaking of life experiences, students from Years 11 and 12 have also been working towards gaining their Advanced Open Water Dive certificate. This course is designed to advance diving skills and confidence from the Open Water Dive certificate students gain in Year 10. The class recently ventured out to Julian Rocks, in clear, crisp conditions, to clock up some diving time. Diving to 20m for almost an hour, the students hung out with some grey nurse sharks, rays, mulloway, big grouper, eels, and a vast array of other species enjoying the crossover seasonal currents. Those that were not diving enjoyed expanding their lungs doing some free diving on the north side of the rocks, getting up close and personal with a friendly turtle.
Thanks to Sundive for taking us out, Gerard for organising the scuba trips and Nick for being an all round legend. Let’s “sea” what adventures we’ll go on next term.
Marine Studies Teacher
An enthusiastic group of Year 9 students spent the morning removing the last patch of Bitou Bush, at the Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare (BSCFL) site, on the south end of New Brighton Beach last week. Geared up with gloves and loppers, they spent the morning enthusiastically removing the plant from the dunes, leaving behind only chopped branches for mulch.
BSCFL volunteers were under pressure to finish the work by June 30, the date set by Rous County Council who enforce the Biosecurity Act. "We are so pleased it is done and there was no need to spray," said project coordinator Nadia de Souza Pietramale. Ellen White, the project mentor, spoke with the students about the history of this coastal area, and explained how this plant became a problem after sand mining when it was used as a sand stabiliser on the dunes.
"It felt satisfying doing something good for the community," said Tas. “It was great fun and good to be doing something selfless," added Molly.
Nadia de Souza Pietramale and Sandra Brain
Thank you to all those who entered the Oliver’s Hens logo competition last week. We got an overwhelming number of entries, making the judging process very difficult. Congratulations to Edie Arran from Year 8 for creating the winning logo. Please check out our website www.the-local.com.au to see Edie’s logo in use, some of the other great entries and to keep up to date with what’s happening. You can also subscribe on the website to follow the Oliver's Hens journey and receive updates on the project.
Playgroup is a place to share and support each other, to create friendships and learn from and with each other.
Adele and Solae (pictured above) are having a cup of tea together and chatting away like they see their parents doing. They have moved from parallel play, where the children sit beside each other and copy each others play, to actively seeking out friends and engaging in co-operative play. These are wonderful social and emotional milestones observed and celebrated by parent and educator in Playgroup.
We had a woolly day at Playgroup recently. Tzivonit and her son Tamer brought in their one-week old lamb Daisy. Daisy Lamb is always very hungry. She wears a nappy while she is inside, just like a baby, and needs to stay close to her adopted mum. Thank you Tziv for this wonderful experience. Also thank you to Joss for showing us how to spin wool into yarn and a big thank you to all our wonderful families for sharing these special moments.
Congratulations to Class 6 student Shalev Haver (pictured above) and Class 5 student Pleiades Kerry, both of whom were selected to represent the Far North Coast region in the soccer State Championships in Coffs Harbour over the Queen’s birthday long weekend. Both teams came out on top - marking the first time that the Far North Coast has won this championship - a fantastic effort.
Shearwater Winter Festival 2018
Thursday June 21
5.00pm to 6.30pm
(The festival will be postponed to Tuesday June 26 if needed)
Each year, the Shearwater community gathers, in reverence, to mark the solstice, the in-breath of the year, and the return of the light. We also take this time to celebrate the Year 12s as they come towards the completion of their Shearwater journey.
This year's festival takes its inspiration from the migration of the Humpback whales, moving northwards to the Queensland coast, and southwards to Antarctica, in a giant, breathing, yearly rhythm.
The festival story encompasses the indigenous wisdom of the whale's origin in the Mirrabooka, the Milky Way, and also the present concerning reality of the earth's oceans, with a prompt to create change, born of awareness and love.
All students from both the Primary and High School, will remain at school at the end of the day, as they prepare for the evening event. Please stand by for more detailed information from your children's Teachers and Guardians, as well as Class Parent Representatives, who will be coordinating the evening meal.
Parents and friends are invited to arrive at the Big Amphitheatre at the back of the Primary School at 5pm for the welcome to country and festival songs performed by our High School music students.
The main event will commence at 5.30pm. We ask that all families be seated by 5.15pm, so as not to block the path of the students as they enter the amphitheatre.
Please note that the Primary School event in the Hall, which will take place before the main event, is for students only due to space considerations.
Please remember to dress warmly and bring something to sit on as you will be seated on the ground.
Here are a few of the songs we've been singing in preparation for the festival.
Nature takes centre stage...
Beauty, simplicity and the power of nature can promote calm, peace and wellbeing.
Year 7S recently ventured off the beaten track to immerse themselves for a good long week of walking with packs - brimming with supplies they had cooked and dehydrated during the four weeks prior to the camp, into the wilderness of the Guy Fawkes National Park.
Imagine as a 12 to 13 year old, walking for days beside a pristine river, rhythms lulling you into the natural world, where one can take the time to be alone with one's thoughts, and can feel both alive and free.
The children soon fell in sync with nature. Half of any given day was spent walking, the remainder was about collecting firewood, swimming, exploring and setting up camp. Off to sleep when it was dark. Rising at dawn refreshed and ready to do it all again.
These are powerful experiences that we may have once taken for granted in previous generations. Yet opportunities like these find deep resonance with the youth of today; perhaps all the more pertinent in contrast with the overcrowded busyness of modern life.
Being totally immersed in nature provided opportunities for holistic, inclusive, accessible lessons for all learners -including the adults. Lessons in the bush can be multi-sensory, active, rich and varied, often disrupting the traditional indoor classroom hierarchies and limitations. Left in nature long enough I am sure this happens to us all - after only a few short days the children began to socialise and interact in new and different ways with peers and adults. Detoxing from our comfort zones we met the unpredictable, weathered the uncomfortable, shared songs and stories, forged new friendships and came back having had experiences which can be transformed into new faculties that will continue to unfold.
Many thanks to all our supporters - the families of the students who readied them and sent them off in trust; the adults who came along; the School - which has the courage to make these wilderness adventures possible; and the wider community who helped is with our camp preparation.
Class 7 Teacher
The Year 11 Drama students are hard at work rehearsing Georges Buchner's Woyzeck to be performed next week, with a sneak preview this Friday night.
Buchner began writing Woyzeck when he was just 22 years old, two years before his death, of typhus, in 1837. The play is considered the first ever working-class tragedy as well as the first ‘truly modern' drama.
Our production developed organically into an exploration of the exploitation of the poor, rather than the story of a crime of passion. We try to express the tragedy of this poetically, through different styles of performance and movement, inspired by Pina Bausch, the evocative music of Tom Waits and the theatre techniques of Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theatre, as well as a symbolic set.
We would like to thank the office staff for ticketing and sales, Nick Thorne for lending us Mirri’s skate ramp and Tony, Nick and the maintenance crew for setting it up and willingly helping with whatever we needed. Rhys Edwards has been wonderful in organising and coordinating the entertainment crew in sound and vision. We are extremely grateful for all the time and energy given to us by Vasudha Harte, who helped bring the music to life. We have loved the journey together and hope you enjoy the performance!
The play will preview on Friday June 8, followed by two more performances on Tuesday June 12 and Wednesday June 13. The show starts at 7pm. Tickets are available from the Office or at the door and cost $12/$8 conc. Soups, sweets, snacks and beverages will be available from 6.15pm outside the Hall. Phone 6684 3223 for more information.
Don't miss this opportunity to support our amazing Year 11 performers and Entertainment crew. We look forward to seeing you there!
At Preschool we have been feeling the cool Autumn breezes and noticing the leaves around us turn golden, orange and red. There is always busy work to do. We have been washing crystals to notice the different colours and patterns; working together to plant new trees and making mandala designs from some of the flowers in our garden. Some of us are making binoculars to take on walks. All of the children enjoy walking to Grandfather Fig tree and to different parts of our beautiful School grounds. Not to mention, it’s great to play with our friends and to have lots of fun.
Year 12 Visual Art students were lucky enough to meet Australian artist Patricia Piccinini at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art recently. As part of their HSC course they have been looking at the role of art critics and how to write an exhibition review. There's nothing like getting out of the classroom and bringing the learning to life. The students went to see Piccinini's extensive solo exhibition and attend a Q&A with the artist herself. Meeting her and standing in front of her work was inspiring for these young artists and the studio has been abuzz with enthusiasm since the excursion. On returning to school each student wrote a review of the exhibition. The following review was written by Oceana Piccone.
A place where all mammals are one and equal
Walking through ‘Curious Affection’, Patricia Piccinini’s solo exhibition currently at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art, GOMA , takes you on a journey through a bizarrely beautiful world and fills you with a sense of hope and wonder for the future. Her life-like sculptures made from silicone, human hair, leather and fibreglass, present an uncanny yet realistic vision of a world where humans and animals are one and the same and have heart warming relationships.
Piccinini has a design team that works together in the construction of these fantasy creatures and she displayed this well through video documentation in the gallery, acknowledging the importance of her team, but the idea behind it all is most important. She sees herself as a ‘meaning maker’. Piccinini conceives these concepts through life experiences and world issues that she is passionate about. Her beautiful yet confrontational, large scale sculptures express her love for the animal world, and the fact that our industrial needs are destroying their environments. She is interested in relationships of all kinds and the intimacy of love, that fragile state we are placed in once our heart becomes one with another.
The exhibition consists of sculptures the artist created over the last ten years alongside commissions created especially for GOMA. ‘Curious Affection’ is an immersive, multi-sensory environment, complete with a field of 3000 sculpted flowers and a large-scale inflatable sculpture suspended from the roof.
“This is a world where things mix and intermingle, where nothing stays in it’s place. It is a world where animal, plant, machine and human unite and commingle. We have to ask ourselves, if it is so hard to figure out where one thing starts and another ends, can we really continue to believe in the barriers that separate us. Connection and empathy are at the heart of my practice, and at the heart of this exhibition”. - Patricia Piccinini
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School