Remember hearing all those sighs of delight and relief from parents across Victoria as kids resumed school following the Covid lockdowns?! It wasn’t such a long time ago when virtual learning was the norm, it was an adjustment for everyone but no doubt kids were yearning to be back in class together with their friends and teachers. Teachers have a remarkable and fundamental role in shaping our children by how and what they teach. For young kids in Grade 6, how do you teach them science beyond books? One teacher – Campbell Gome brought science class to life for the kids through the TreeProject.
In 2014, Campbell was teaching Grade 6 at Thornbury Primary School. Growing up in and around open spaces as a kid, he had developed an early love and awareness of the environment. When it came to the classroom, Campbell wanted to give his class the same opportunity. The light bulb moment happened when his sister-in-law introduced to him that the TreeProject were looking for volunteers to grow seedlings. Grade 6 kids learning to grow seedlings? What could be a more fun and integrated experience for them learn about science and nature!
He set about ordering the seedling kits for the class and he gave the kids their first assignment of researching the different indigenous species they were about to grow. When the kits were ready, he picked up 300 seeds from seven different species and organised the planting day for the class. The kids learnt that different species come to life in different ways. Some seeds needed soaking in hot water to make them think they’ve been through a fire, some seeds need to be soaked in water first as if they were grown in a wetland. Once the seeds were potted and covered with gravel, it was the waiting game for the kids. It’s a wonderful joy seeing the kids engaged and involved about the whole experience – from researching encyclopedias, to dipping their hands in the different soils and their first cheers of delight as they see the seedlings emerging from the soil. The care and attention continued as they would water and twist pots around – making sure each seedling always had the chance to bathe in sunlight. Soon the day came when Campbell organised for the kids to join a TreeProject planting day up in the Yarra Valley where they planted theirs and other seedlings around a dam.
Campbell never expected the experience for the class to end then. Several years later when they became high school students, some of the class made a return visit to the Yarra Valley to see where their seedlings had grown and changed the environment. What used to be a sparse land with muddy dam had been absolutely transformed. The kids saw lush greenery with plants taller than Campbell along with wildlife and birds now drinking from the clear water in the dam.
Over the last eight years, Campbell has continued to run the school activity with the kids to grow seedlings with the TreeProject. This year though, Campbell has taken a pause from teaching but continues to volunteer with the TreeProject personally as both a grower and planter. Campbell is an avid supporter if the TreeProject and how it connects people from the city and regional areas in their common goal to revegetate and protect the environment.
For someone who never thought of himself as a knowledgeable or talented gardener, he knows that with the training from the TreeProject coordinators anyone who has a little space can give growing a go too!
Keen to become a volunteer grower and make the change you would like to see? Read more about becoming a volunteer grower here.