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 The Mullumbimby Steiner School