Over fifty children attended events at the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens this week as part of the FOBIF Winter School Holiday Program. Three events were held as part of the program, which aimed to give our local families an opportunity to learn about the Box Ironbark Forests and the wonderful world of books and nature studies.
The first event featured a live animal display with Jamie from Jamie and Kim’s mobile Zoo where kids and adults heard about, touched and fell in love with some of our most threatened Australian animals. This engaging presentation was followed by a treasure hunt for elements of our local forests in the largely unnoticed, but beautiful local bush part of the gardens.
The second event, ‘Habitat Stories’ was held in partnership with the Goldfields Library. Local story time hero Jess Saunders held the early primary school age children in awe with her reading of books about birds and habitat more generally with obligatory bubbles also. After lunch kids were introduced to another local, the White-winged Chough, and this bird’s mud brick nest building ability. Kids then followed on to make their own nest complete with furnishing from Barkers Creek, eggs and in one nest, “acorns, for toys”.
Judy Laycock and Alice Steel expertly ran the final event, which introduced botanical drawing to an engaged and diligent group of early primary school age children. Together the group learned about method, observation, recording and creativity by producing their own book of botanical drawings. Plenty of time was spent in the field capturing observations from the bark and various structural elements of the bush. A quick rundown on how to use watercolour and kids were away at adding colour to their drawings with beautiful results.
A massive well done and thank-you to all of the presenters and volunteers who have made the first FOBIF Winter School Holiday Program such a success. Thanks also to MASC for their support through their Strenghthening our Community funding. For further reading about why we love to do these things please see George Monbiot’s great article from The Guardian.
Photos of the three days can be viewed below. Click on photo to enlarge.