Creating Connected Resilient Communities – Eat Dirt

A project that aims to connect students to Country, nature and each other is well and truly underway at Bellingen High with a class of year 8 students participating in a range of activities to enhance their creativity and critical thinking.

The program which has been made possible with a grant from NSW Government’s Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund and is a partnership project with Gotcha4Life, Surf Life Saving NSW, Bellingen High and the local community is now in its sixth week. In that time, over 300 Camphor laurel saplings, in excess of 50 Privets of all sizes have been removed and 300 seedlings are now in the ground.

The program is an example of adaptive management in action as the facilitators aim to deliver a program that engages all the students. This engagement is evident by the below article written by year 8 student, Charlee Troy who is participating in the program.

Eat Dirt.

By Charlee Troy

For the past five weeks every Thursday, the class 8R from Bellingen High School has been working alongside the bush regeneration team, taking part in numerous hands-on activities. These activities have given us a break from technology and being stuck in a classroom. This has given us an amazing opportunity to have access to this very different way of learning.

One of our main projects that we have been focusing on is trying to catch the 11 Koi Carp that have accidentally been released into the Cemetery Creek. We have tried numerous methods to catch the fish such as bait on a fishing line, netting and an Aboriginal method – which was using crushed wattle to dissolve the oxygen.

Uncle Micklo has been working with us. He started off by welcoming us to the land and has been educating us on the Indigenous culture through Dreaming Stories and eating diverse foods made from the fruit of the land.

Another big part of this program is working with native plants. We have been planting quite a few seedlings with Sally from Landcare, such as Alpinia Caerulea also known as native ginger, as well as replanting some Davidson Plums and some White Aspen.

The bush regeneration team, Bart, Nick, Greg, Kim and Fin have taken us here, there and everywhere around the school teaching us how to identify weeds and how to remove them properly. They gave us a hand with planting natives, and they shared some interesting stories and past experiences and what it’s really like to work as a bush regenerator.

Overall, this has been an amazing five weeks. It has definitely been different to the traditional way of learning, but we would all agree it has been extremely enjoyable and successful. Being able to work together as a team and having the ability to take away knowledge of the natural environment is a privilege and we would all like to say “thank you very much” to all of the people who helped us throughout this program.


Funding for this pilot program has been provided by Resilience NSW through the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund.

To find out more about the project, contact Melanie Tyas, Landcare NSW on

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