To view this edition of the BGPA Newsletter online, please click here.
Kings Park Education Newsletter

Kings Park Festival – September 2011

Spring is just around the corner, with warm sunny days and carpets of wildflowers, it must be Kings Park Festival time! There is still time to book your class into one of our fantastic festival events, but don’t take too long as places are booking up fast.

Quiz on Legs

Quiz on Legs 2011 – Celebrating science, society and the environment for a sustainable future.

On Wednesday 28 September, schools can enjoy a full day of hands-on, curriculum-based activities in the Western Australian Botanic Garden. Be inspired with interactive presentations from over 20 leading eco-education organisations. Be engaged with exciting activities including Kings Park Theatre, arts and craft, music and amazing Australian animals. Be immersed in Aboriginal Culture through storytelling, dance performances, face painting and bush tucker. Suitable for the whole school from Kindergarten to Year 7 and just $8 per student - make your booking today by phoning 9480 3624.

Louise Snook2011 Artist in Residence – Louise Snook

Highly regarded school’s ‘Artist in Residence’ Louise Snook will be joining us for a week of ‘Tree-mendous’ tree dressing workshops to celebrate the UN International Year of Forests. Students will create eye catching textiles with an important environmental message to highlight the often overlooked value of trees in our environment. Students will meet the tree doctors from Kings Park’s arboricultural team as they talk about their work looking after trees and assist with hanging the decorations. Book now to secure one of the last few remaining workshops by phoning 9480 3624.

The Boodja Gnarning ‘living off the land’ Trail

Boodja Gnarning

On Monday 9 May 2011, students from the Bibra Lake and Landsdale primary schools attended a wonderful, interactive celebration of Aboriginal culture for the school’s trial of the Boodja Gnarning Trail. The lucky students were involved in a variety of authentic and engaging Aboriginal cultural experiences with members of the local Wadjuk Noongar community, including the Middar Noongar dance company, an Aboriginal art lesson and a guided walk along the Boodja Gnarning Trail. This highly interactive experience took in some of the many native species of plants found in Kings Park. Eye-catching and informative signs throughout the Botanic Garden highlight Aboriginal plant names and common names, as well as their significance to Aboriginal culture such as food, medicine, tools, shelter and spiritual importance.

The trail’s founder Alton Walley expressed his great sense of pride to be involved in the project stating: “I am very proud to be a part of this program. It’s great to interact with the students and have them actively involved and learning about Noongar culture. Through these programs Noongar culture can be better understood and valued by the next generations.”

The Boodja Gnarning Trail will be officially launched by the Minister for Environment; Water, the Hon. Bill Marmion on 1 September 2011. This self-guided walk can be combined with Kings Park's Wadjuk Wandering program delivered by our Aboriginal Cultural Education Officer. Bookings are essential for both activities. Please phone the Bookings Officer on 9480 3624 for more information.

Rio Tinto Naturescape in Kings ParkRio Tinto Naturescape in Kings Park is coming

Rio Tinto Naturescape in Kings Park, set to open to schools in March 2012, is a new outdoor space designed to connect children with nature. It will be the new home of education in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Many city children miss out on the freedom of exploring and playing in nature. Rio Tinto Naturescape in Kings Park is being created just for this purpose and will encourage inquiry-based learning.

The design of the 60,000 square metre site incorporates a series of zones, offering an array of experiences and discoveries. The zones include hidden thickets, outdoor classrooms, a cubby building area and a creek. Upside-down trees provide a tangle of climbing webs, while treetop lookouts offer a bird’s-eye view of the bushland. The zones are connected by a series of meandering paths, boardwalks and bridges that wind through the site. While some teachers may struggle with the idea of immersing students in a natural environment, the site has been designed to take safety concerns into account without removing the challenge and potential for higher order thinking.

‘These kind of experiences encourage critical thinking, self-reliance and problem-solving, which are all part of healthy childhood development’ according to Kings Park Education Coordinator, Charlotte Vaughan. ‘A growing body of research shows that interaction with nature is critical for healthy childhood development, with a positive impact on motor skills, cognitive development, mental health, problem-solving ability, creative play and self esteem.’

Nicola Smith from the Child Safety Education Coalition, UK states that: ‘By encouraging participation in activities in which children are able to gain background knowledge, identify hazards and risk, decide which of these are acceptable and develop an understanding of their own physical abilities, “risk competencies” will be developed with children building up the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary to keep themselves and other safe.’

Fostering a connection to nature is widely understood to be the basic building block to develop children’s appreciation for our natural environment.

‘If we don’t give today’s children the opportunity to connect with nature, how can we expect this generation to care for our fragile environment in the future?’ asks Mark Webb, CEO Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority.

Want to find out more? We have two free teacher previews coming up on the 9 and 13 August, with an extra date soon to be released due to demand. To book your place, email Charlotte Vaughan at education@bgpa.wa.gov.au.

Kings Park Education, Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Fraser Avenue, West Perth, WA 6005
Tel: (08) 9480 3652 Fax: (08) 9480 3601
www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/education
If you do not wish to receive future issues of this newsletter, click here to unsubscribe from this list.