Ngunnawal culture and environmental sustainability showcased at Richardson centre
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Ngunnawal culture and environmental sustainability showcased at Richardson centre

by Freya Lucas

August 19, 2020

Children attending Richardson Child Care & Education Centre in the ACT are learning more about Ngunnawal culture and environmental sustainability through their new bush tucker garden after a successful application for a Woolworths Junior Landcare Grant.


The project came about after educators at the service wanted to raise awareness of Reconciliation Week, Aboriginal culture and sustainable land practices, centre manager Cherie Fensom told local publication RiotACT


A number of unique plantings are found in the garden, such as rosella hibiscus, native guava, native river mint, midgen berry and mat rush, and all the plants are edible. River mint is also good for tea and fragrant oils, and mat rush leaves can be used for weaving into mats and baskets or wrapping around aching limbs to relieve pain.


Children were already learning about Aboriginal culture, customs and history at the service, Ms Fensom said, but the educator team wanted to do more. 


“We thought a bush tucker garden would be ideal as it would allow our children to learn another aspect of Ngunnawal culture in a fun and enjoyable way,” she added. 


As well as supporting the children to learn more about connections with the Ngunnawal people, the bush tucker garden complements other sustainability activities at the service, including growing a vegetable garden, feeding chickens with food scraps, cooking meals with the chickens’ eggs, installing water tanks, and collecting cans and bottles to be cashed in to help fund other sustainability projects.


The $1,000 Woolworths Junior Landcare Grant, Ms Fensom said, has also strengthened community connections, with children and families being involved in the research and design of the garden, which incorporates their ideas and feedback. 


As part of the project, children from Richardson visited the nearby preschool to see what plants they had in their bush foods garden, as well as working with a local community Indigenous officer to gain advice, ideas and recipes, and to learn how the Ngunnawal people use the plants which are found in the bush food garden. 


Children also went on an excursion to Woolworths, as part of the Woolworths Fresh Food Kids Discovery Tours program, which reinforced messages about healthy eating. 


Next steps in the project include sourcing a table and chairs to create a reflective space, and replanting more hibiscus “because our chickens ate the first lot,” Ms Fensom said. 


To learn more about the programs offered by Richardson Child Care & Education Centre, please see here


For the original coverage of this story, as produced by RiotACT, please see here

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