Home' Teacher : December 2010 Contents OUTSIDE THE SQUARE 69
a large temporary housing estate, for want
of a better word, on Marysville's outskirts.
Students met with owners of a property
whose house was destroyed in the blaze.
They had been in Melbourne during the fires
and were thankful for that. With the support
of Landcare worker Janet Hagan, students
got straight to work on the property, plant-
ing 200 trees in a one kilometre stretch, as a
windbreak and to help prevent erosion.
The group then travelled south to
Healesville Sanctuary, to learn firsthand
about the impact of severe bushfire on
endemic animals and about their treatment.
The endangered Leadbeaters possum pop-
ulation was critically affected, and at one
stage was thought to be eradicated.
The students worked hard, but they
enjoyed the trip and gained valuable learn-
ing experiences. Laurentia Jung from
Bowral High School, New South Wales,
says the experience has increased her inter-
est in participating in volunteer work. 'I
gained a broader understanding of what
happened in Victoria at the time of the
bushfires, and what the people of Victoria
unfortunately had to experience, including
the extremes of temperature and winds that
occurred during the fires, leaving the land
completely devastated,' Jung says.
For Megan Williams from Leumeah
High School near Campbelltown, south-
west of Sydney, one of the most rewarding
aspects of volunteering was to see the appre-
ciation, and generosity, of fire-affected Vic-
'It has changed how I see things and the
value I place on the simple everyday things
I have, such as having my ow n shower and a
place to call my home,' Williams says. 'The
family we last worked with were positive
about the whole thing, saying that while
they lost everything they owned at that
house, that can all be replaced and they
are just lucky to still have their lives. This
really made me realise that if they can see
a positive out of something so tragic and
devastating, then the little things I worry
about are really insignificant.'
Fellow student Sophie-Marie Wood
describes the experience as life changing.
'There was a certain day when we were
planting and it was freezing cold and rain-
ing, but there was no way that we would
complain because we knew that people
had nothing; at least we had all our family,
homes and belongings.
'One night we shared a temporary home.
I and a few other girls looked out the win-
dow and saw a tiny hall with hundreds of
people sharing food. That moment was
hard, but they still knew how to smile. They
where all such a close community working
together to get their environment and old
lives back.' T
Frank Calabria is a teacher at Wooglemai
Environmental Education Centre,
Oakdale, New South Wales, a NSW
Department of Education and Training
environmental education and outdoor edu-
cation and recreation facility for schools.
Many thanks to Yar ran Cox from Bow ral
High School and Sally Thompson who
gave up their holidays to help super vise
the trip, to Hurlstone Agricultural High
School for providing tran sport, Landcare
Victoria and to South West Sydney Youth
Environmental Network for subsidising
the cost of the trip.
In set photos courtesy of Wooglemai
Environmental Educational Centre.
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