Little Saints ELC Traralgon wins John Ruyg award for new garden space
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Little Saints ELC Traralgon wins John Ruyg award for new garden space

by Freya Lucas

November 14, 2022

Little Saints Early Learning Centre in Traralgon has been awarded the John Ruyg Encouragement Award as part of the Living Well Latrobe program in recognition of its recently established vegetable garden. 


The Living Well Latrobe program is part of Latrobe City Council’s Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (MPHWP) 2021-2025, with the John Ruyg award named in honour of local citizen John Ruyg, a well-respected arborist who previously worked at Latrobe City Council before starting his business, JR’s Treemendous Landscapes, in 2004. 


Mr Ruyg was a resident of Callignee, and his family was one of 247 who lost their homes in the Churchill Black Saturday bushfire on 7 February 2009.


After the bushfire, he worked tirelessly in support of the community to assess dangerous trees and encourage revegetation, under an initiative funded by Latrobe City Council.


Mayor of Latrobe City Cr Kellie O’Callaghan acknowledged John’s partner, Dr Renee Paulet and children Josie and Bowie, for judging the award this year.


“The award reflects John’s lasting legacy and continues to inspire our community to enjoy gardening, improving our local environment and building communities,” the Mayor said.


Little Saints is one of several preschools and early learning centres that have installed biofilta wicking beds to grow fresh vegetables.


Supported by Latrobe City Council, each participating kinder and preschool has designed and planted their gardens with input from students and using a starter pack of seeds and seedlings.


The biofilta wicking beds allow the gardens to grow throughout the year, without the worry of having to water them during holidays.


Each garden had the opportunity to participate in the John Ruyg Encouragement Award, which is presented to gardeners in Latrobe City to acknowledge John’s passion for gardens, the environment and community connection.


“Congratulations to the students and educators at Little Saints Early Learning Centre in Traralgon who were selected as the winners of the award. It is a fantastic effort, with a variety of vegetables and indigenous plants incorporated into the design,” the Mayor added. 


To learn more about incorporating biofilta wicking beds into your program, please see here

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