By the Jeparit Primary School senior class (grade 3-6) – environmental education from Jeparit, Victoria, Australia.
Name of Panel: “Our Healthy River Red Gum Woodland”
What Dream Theme did you choose? Science, Technology – Environmental Health (conservation)
Who was involved? Teacher Jeanie Clark leading students of the Jeparit Primary School Seniors (Grades 3 to 6)
Techniques Used & Materials Used: Texta, photographic transfers, and poster and fabric paint on calico.
Tell us the story behind your panel: Jeparit is located beside extensive River Red Gum Woodlands that have been decimated by the decade-plus long drought in the Wimmera, in north western Victoria (ie inland Australia). In October 2009, the Wimmera River flowed to its end at Jeparit naturally for the first time in over a decade and flowed into our Lake Hindmarsh which had been dry since 2000. Some trees have responded with new growth suggesting that our woodland is in recovery. We hope that with continued rain, it will recover but this will take years. This panel was an important stage in an environmental education program for years 3 to 6 to learn about what life would be like in a Healthy River Red Gum Woodland (when/if it recovers fully) as a focus of learning for 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. We began in March when students made drawings to show the beauty of the River Red Gum Woodlands. They were entered in the United Nation’s Environment Program’s 19th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment , for the IYB, “Biodiversity – connecting with nature”. The river (still with water from the flow six month ago) and the life they had seen, bird boxes they had made in 2009 and hollows in trees, living or dead, were key images.
Each student made a page for a display for the Museum at Jeparit’s Rally Weekend in June showing the life that can be found in River Red Gum Trees.
In April, students in pairs began research for creating science based “picture story books for entry into the “Give me a home among the gum trees” themed Science Talent Search competition. Each was about one or two creatures that live in a River Red Gum Woodland. This took a couple of months of fortnightly classes.
For their class during National Science Week, we looked at the pictures of the first trip to the Moon (using the Saturn V Rocket) and how the pictures of the Earth from that trip helped people appreciate the Earth and its natural world more. We made a concept plan to cover all the sorts of creatures that could live in a healthy River Red Gum Woodland to prepare for our Dream Rocket panel plan, which was to show how our woodland might recover in the future.
We read our stories to the Junior Class during Literacy and Numeracy Week.
Photographic transfers were made of one picture from each book. A group of students then planned the panel around these and a stream using the concept plan we had previously made.
Half a dozen students painted the panel, after the transfers had been put in place.
When it was dry, each student used textas to draw on a River Red Gum tree to make the forest.
Our panel was displayed at our local show in October, and then in the school foyer after that.