Charlie’s lasting legacy will help preschoolers connect with Ngunnawal culture
A year six student from Giralang Primary School has been recognised for his outstanding kindness and contribution to his community, being awarded the ACT Fred Hollows Humanity Award.
The award recognises year six students who give back to their community and show outstanding kindness, with Charlie being lauded for his community minded approach which inspired him to create a parting gift to his school – a native plant use garden.
Charlie planned and pitched the project to school executives, then planted the garden in a vacant space in the preschool so students can learn about the many ways native plants are used in Ngunnawal culture.
“I was inspired by a book in the library called Ngunnawal Plant Use, which reminded me of a native plant garden I loved when I was in preschool,” Charlie said.
“I wanted to create the garden so others can learn about the First Nations people and how they use these plants for tools, eating, medicine and even some things we still don’t know about today.”
Charlie’s teacher Matt Garratt nominated him for the award after seeing how hard Charlie had worked to get the project up and running.
“At the time, the executive were considering what we could do to reinvigorate some of the gardens around the school – then Charlie came to us with his idea – it was brilliant timing and a great example of leadership by a Year 6 student,” Mr Garratt said.
Once he had the go ahead for the project, Charlie assembled a team of friends and another teacher who worked to bring the garden to life. Although the garden isn’t yet fully complete, it is already being used as a learning resource for many age groups, and features a variety of native plants, each with a name tag and short description of what they can be used for, being tended to each day by the preschool classes.
“Indigenous perspectives are such a core part of the curriculum, so to have an interactive tool that students can access is fantastic,” Mr Garratt said.
While Charlie will not be able to enjoy the garden for much longer as he is transitioning to high school, he said he is confident that his work will be taken care of, and that he hopes to come back and visit the space.
“I hope that one day when I come back to visit, I’ll see the garden and remember when I was in Year 6 and I won the Fred Hollows Humanity Award – that will make me really proud,” he said.
“Kindness isn’t something that you buy or get given, you’ve got to do it. It’s a great way to keep everyone in the community happy.”