Waitara children take back wasteland
Armed with a great attitude - and a few spades, Waitara’s young ecowarriors went on a mission to help take back an overrun wasteland.
St Joseph’s School kids joined forces with volunteers and descended on the Waitara community orchard situated across the railway line at the end of Nelson Street. They engaged in hands-on planting of fruit trees and helped clear the grounds and nearby waterway of other peoples trash.
‘‘This was an amazing opportunity to see the bigger effects of pollution. It doesn’t end in the playground or classroom,’’ teacher Melissa Lane said.
SJS strives to encourage students to consider packaging choices and where their rubbish goes and for them the day was a real eye opener, Lane said.
The orchard development serves as a tangible environmental project for the students to learn about the history of the patch of land and how they can support its clean up and regeneration. ‘‘This is a direct link to our science curriculum as part of the living world.’’
Driving the project is Trevor Dodunski, who was overwhelmed at the children’s efforts.
‘‘I cried with emotion. To me our children are so precious and they were so excited. It was such an awesome day.’’
It was that same passion and his distaste at the waste that prompted Dodunski to take action. The Waitara Community board member saw the potential in the neglected land and was sick of it being used as a dumping ground for old couches, dishwashers, mattresses and other household rubbish.
As well as being an eyesore, it was an environmental hazard because with the rubbish came rats and mice.
Dodunski got to the point where ‘‘enough was enough’’, enlisting the help of a digger and digger driver to help clear the overgrown weeds, scrub and rubbish. ‘‘A truck and a half of rubbish was picked up. It was an absolute disgrace,’’ he said.
That was more than a year ago and since then people from throughout the community have volunteered help on the ground as well as donations.
Now there is a space dedicated to peach trees called Peaches Grove, avocado trees have gone in for a shelter belt, along with a variety of fruit trees. With a clean as you go philosophy the orchard will continue to take shape.
St Joseph’s Primary School children are ecowarriors in the making as they survey the pile of rubbish they picked up in at the orchard in one day.