How much does it cost to do the right thing?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by sbrokvam, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. sbrokvam

    sbrokvam Junior Member

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    I'm a teacher and have just become advisor for an enviro group at school. The kids in ECo (Environmental Council, or, as they call it, The Hippie Club) decided Green Week, Meatless Monday and other awareness-raising is fine, but wanted to do something hands-on as well. They're keen to have a vegie patch at school, but decided tree planting would be a safe first start..

    I know little about tree planting schemes in Queensland, and was wondering if you have any good tips on where to go and who to ask? Is there a particular body that regulates such initiatives? Do you actually have to pay lots to buy seedlings, or is there funding for this if you provide many willing hands?

    Thanks,
    Ståle
     
  2. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I think its great the kids want to do something like that but i wish you'd go back to the vege patch idea rather than tree planting. It's too easy to shove a tree in the ground and then forget about it whereas growing veges requires an ongoing commitment and the rewards are greater in the short term. I've done both - planted a ton of trees and now I'm growing veges. Growing veges has the potential to give the kids a love of gardening and appreciation of producing their own food. I think on the whole its a far healthier approach to take for kids. Growing things is such a healing thing to do. Growing trees is good too but as i said, its easy to detach after the tree is in the ground.
     
  3. sbrokvam

    sbrokvam Junior Member

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    Very good points, and based on my own experiences I fully agree. My concern is the sustainability of the project - these are high school students doing the international baccalaureate (academically a pretty rigourous course), and I wouldn't want them to take on something they're not going to be able to go through with because of their other commitments (and of course there's the two months of summer holidays to think of). I need to get a sense of their level of commitment (as well as admin approval) before starting up a garden on the school grounds.
     
  4. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    Hello Stole,
    From what i can remember you are from around the Gold Coast region.These might be some useful contacts for you as they are all in your area and all occasionally do community minded work.
    The Gold Coast City Council,Colin Brown in the parks section,or Simon Hird,You might also try Mark Bibby at Geko Regen,,Kate Heffernan at the Friends of the Botanical Gardens Rosser Park,you might also try the Natural Areas Management Unit within the council,ask for Jen Ford the guys in your area that deal with Permaculture(Justin and Nick) and the Permablitz(Leah Galvin) crew are very resourceful,they might have some fast growing tree like vegetables such as Cassava.The kids could plant it and eat it. This would require about 5$ worth of inputs for 10 trees and 10 minutes care per day for 1 child.Then the little darlings could eat the lot and harvest one of the worlds most important crops and staples,might make for interesting lesson too.The other fine thing about this example is once established they are very hardy,and Holidays a no bother to the old Cassava Plant.I would try the Permacultralist first because they are soft touches from what I hear and are bound to help you out.


    Best Wishes Fernando.
     
  5. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day Ståle,

    have a look at our bale garden presentation that would be a good one for kids, as for the trees see you local EPAoffice or landcare people they will help you source natives for the area.

    so the kids could have the best of both worlds.

    https://www.lensgarden.com.au/straw_bale_garden.htm

    len
     
  6. Dreamie

    Dreamie Junior Member

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    If you want to do something for the environment planting trees that are unproductive to the major inhabitants (humans) in an urban environment is not the best way to go. If you plant a single or group of native trees that attract birds for no other reason then to provide them with a habitat you create islands where they have long distances until the next island. However if you plant a single or group of apple trees then the farmer who grew the apples for you can replace them with native trees and create a much bigger island.

    You are the inhabitants of the land and therefore providing you with food should be a major part of rebuilding an urban area. Every unit of food you can produce is a unit of food that doesn’t need to be transported to your door at the cost of fuel and the cost of the forest that was cleared to grow that unit.

    There is a need for natives in an urban environment as they provide a place for predators to live and also native bees etc. They form an integral part of what you should build but should be part of the plan not the plan.
     
  7. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    A harder job would be changing behavior and mores.
    Does the school compost all its organic waste?
    Does it recycle all else?
    If each student brings in a avocado seed, a mango seed, a tomato seed etc from their kitchen; you could have a forest in no time from something most don't see the value in.
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    What about setting up a worm farm for lunch scraps as a hands on activity?
     
  9. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    eco but what would happen during school holidays. Would the worms starve to death?
     
  10. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Ståle

    On the first point:

    Outdoor Classrooms: A Handbook for School Gardens

    On the second:

    Landcare Queensland

    Concerning Landcare and schools: Our local Landcare group has forged ties with our local primary school. So far the relationship has been great.

    There are plenty of funding bodies ready and willing to give both schools and Landcare groups money. Our group has never had a problem receiving grants. However, applying for grants can be very time consuming (sometimes I have spent days working on a single application).

    Good luck with it, Marko.
     
  11. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Not if you gave them a big feed of compost before you packed up for the holidays, and left the farm somewhere that got some rain and enough shade.
    Alternatively you could liberate the worms into the garden at the end of each school year and start afresh with a new bunch of students the next year.
     
  12. sbrokvam

    sbrokvam Junior Member

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    Wow, a tidal wave of good advice...

    Fernando, I do know some of those people and will give 'em a ring. I must admit I hadn't thought very long and hard about the veggie patch idea and it didn't occur to me to plant hardier stuff. I've got some cassava, qld arrowroot and other fairly self-sufficient stuff out in my back yard for example, so I don't really know why I immediately pictured lettuce and other such high-maintenance fodder. While I know a fair bit about establishing gardens by now, I might see if some of the guys you mention could be talked into coming along and share of their wisdom - we could do a blitz perhaps.

    I did think of food (and other) recycling and using a worm farm for the kitchen scraps, but it's the summer holidays I'm worried about. Composting would take care of that and could be useful for science classes as well, and the logical next step is then that famous veggie patch. I guess it doesn't matter if the tomato plants die during summer as long as the soil is good and the hardier plants, perennials etc. make it through. (I could even hop on my bike and pedal over once or twice to mulch and water :)

    As for the tree planting, the idea was to go off-campus and plant where it's needed, e.g. to help with wetlands restoration or something similar. I totally take your point about food trees in cities - I'm actually having this conversation with my wife, who's keen on planting natives to provide bird habitat and all that, while I want to maximise food production.

    Re: funding, I know what you mean Marko. I'm in the process of filling out an application for the National Solar Schools Program, which is fairly tedious work.

    Thanks for the links and the suggestions folks! Lots to ponder...

    Ståle
     
  13. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    That's some permaculture magic, turning worms into students over the holidays ;-)


    How long are the holidays? I'd expect a large and well designed worm farm to last six weeks without new food (as mentioned you load it up before hand).
     
  14. sbrokvam

    sbrokvam Junior Member

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    Not sure the students are gonna be adequate replacements for the worms...

    Six, perhaps seven weeks. Doable, in other words.

    Thanks again
     
  15. electrifier

    electrifier Junior Member

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    you should have a competition to see who can grow the best tomato (or any other vege)
    get every kid to grow it at home, judge them at the end of the season. have seperate categories for best taste, biggest size, largest harvest by weight per plant etc...
    this will make everyone way more keen, when you get your winners, maybe they could talk about what specific things they did to get their winning harvest.

    the best thing about doing this is that the kids will actively do lots of research without any encouragment.
     
  16. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    My kids keep coming home from school with worms, but I think that is something entirely different....
     
  17. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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  18. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I put maybe a kilo of oatmeal in a square metre worm farm and leave it for a month or more and they're fine. I'm sure you could find other things to add too, that you didn't have to buy.
     

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