Students volunteer, gain cultural insight

Busselton Dunsborough Times
Busselton Senior High School students recently planted hundreds of trees at Meelup.
Camera IconBusselton Senior High School students recently planted hundreds of trees at Meelup. Credit: Supplied/Busselton-Dunsborough Times, Supplied Busselton-Dunsborough Times

Students from Busselton Senior High School recently helped Meelup Regional Park volunteers plant more than 800 native seedlings in the Eagle Bay wildlife corridor.

The students are part of the school’s Waalitj Kartajin Aboriginal engagement program and were invited by volunteers Bob and Pippa Jervis and City of Busselton environment officer Kay Lehman.

Local custodians also attended the event and passed on cultural knowledge to the students.

Isaac and Wayne Webb delivered a fascinating account of the way in which Aboriginal people have been looking after the land for thousands of years and recalled many stories of their experiences in the area now known as Meelup Regional Park.

Wayne Webb said that it was ironic the young people were now re-vegetating areas many of their families helped clear during the time after European settlement.

The students and volunteers braved heavy showers and managed to complete the re-vegetation project before lunch.

AIEO Gwen Gray and colleague Betty Huxtable had planned a barbecue at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse but this had to be abandoned due to severe weather.

By way of compensation the students were treated to a sausage sizzle with chips and gravy back at the school courtesy of chip butty aficionado and associated principal Colin Sheffield.

While gaining cultural knowledge, the event also helped students develop their portfolios and log volunteer hours.

Undalup Association’s Toni Webb said it was a great initiative, but ideally, there would be a community school-based Ranger program for Aboriginal students to once again take a hands-on role in caring for country.

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