Bulimba State School is situated in the heart of Brisbane. At the core of its values is a desire to encourage students to value and respect the land. The school is managed with an emphasis on sustainability and the school grounds are used as a productive source for play-space, green-space and growing-food space.
Despite the school being built on the side of a steep slope, it boasts vegie gardens, chook sheds and gardens that encourage the development of imagination in children, and also offer a home for native flora and fauna.
The school is part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, but its ethos goes beyond growing vegies and using them to teach children about healthy eating. The whole school runs on the principal of caring for the land, and fostering an understanding of sustainability in its students.
Lunch breaks see the children sorting through their rubbish to put it in various bins such as recyclables, food for the chooks, compost and general waste. And they not only take it seriously, they love doing it.
Michael Zeuschner is the principal of Bulimba SS and he says that the school has become his 'life's work'. A strong believer in sustainability Michael works with and supports his staff to manage the school based along the principles of caring for the land and making the most of what they have.
The school is built on a steep slope, and as it has grown over the years and required new buildings, each time this has occurred the land has been scrapped back to bare, hard dirt and rock. Gardens previously grown have been lost, but the children, under the guidance of teachers, such as Phil Young, have rallied and rebuilt.
A row of mulch pits are the foundation of the school's gardens. Anything that can be mulched is mulched and the children carry buckets of the mulch around the school as they move from place to place. Seeds are scattered and plants that will help to stabilize the soil are planted and the gardens are rebuilt and regrown.
The school has a chook shed, and every day the chooks are allowed out to roam the gardens, scratching where they will. Students from the school are happy to clean up after them sweeping the paths clean of the scratchings.
In the trees there are nesting boxes for birds and possums and the gardens have many native trees and shrubs which encourage birds to visit.
Parents bring scraps and clippings for the mulch pits and assist with working bees. Students give up their lunch breaks and time after school to work in the gardens. And teachers support the program in a range of ways, liaising closely with Phil and other staff who work on the schools gardens.
For more information about Bulimba SS and their program please contact the school directly via their website.