|27 Jun 2022|
The new Loreto Normanhurst Bush Tucker Garden will strengthen student understanding of Indigenous culture and foster engaging learning opportunities for traditional bush food diets and native plant uses.
Led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at Loreto Normanhurst and in consultation with Aunty Tracey Howie, students from Year 7 to 11 teamed up with staff from the Bush to Bowl Nursery to select an array of native plants for the garden.
A wide variety of plants with both edible and medicinal properties were chosen to suit the gardens’ location, sun and shade exposure, and soil type. Natives were selected and sown under the guidance of Loreto Normanhurst Director of Pastoral Care, Ms Sally Munro, and Agriculture teacher, Ms Mel Oxley, and include emu bush, lemon myrtle, midyim berries, piggy face, apple berry, rivermint, acronychia and wattle.
With the garden already a growing success, Loreto Normanhurst’s Indigenous students have been given the important responsibility of maintaining the garden and harvesting the ripe produce. These students will also be empowered to lead and work with younger students on the continued cultivation of the garden and to impart knowledge about traditional diets and culture.
Students from the Loreto Normanhurst Primary School will engage with the garden through teaching and learning experiences as part of their science curriculum. This will support key learning outcomes around sustainable food production and examining how the environment affects the growth, survival, and adaptation of living things.
The Bush Tucker Garden demonstrates Loreto Normanhurst’s continuing commitment to the innovative integration of curriculum, pastoral care, and Indigenous culture. It enhances wellbeing by providing Indigenous students and staff with a means to strengthen cultural connectivity and share deeper cultural understanding with the broader community. Physically, the Bush Tucker Garden will function as sensory space for Indigenous students to ground themselves and supports existing strategies for student emotional learning.
Speaking on the new Loreto Normanhurst Bush Tucker Garden, Principal of Loreto Normanhurst, Ms Marina Ugonotti said:
“The Bush Tucker Garden signifies the profound commitment of Loreto students and staff to live in harmony with nature. It also symbolises the important connection to our school’s Indigenous community and ongoing sharing of culture and knowledge.”
Future plans for the Bush Tucker Garden include students working collaboratively to develop a specialised cookbook and integrating the produce from the Bush Tucker Garden into the menu of the Loreto Normanhurst Boarding School.
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