Urban forest connects school community at Kent Street
About the Kent Street Urban Forest Initiative
In March 2020, the Parents and Citizens at Kent St Senior High School (KSHS P&C) applied for an Urban Forest Grants Program to develop their own urban forest initiative.
Their project aimed at meeting the following outcomes of the Town’s Urban Forest Strategy:
- Plant sufficient trees by 2020 to achieve the 20% tree canopy target: by aiming to plant 12 local trees and 480 native shrubs.
- Improve urban ecosystems: Creating a more healthy and social environment for the students, as the newly planted areas will be an inviting and cooling area for local fauna and recreational purposes.
- Maximise community involvement and collaboration: Establishing stronger community spirit and relationship between the school and the broader community. Providing economic support for local businesses by purchasing all the necessary soil, mulch and other planting equipment.
- Improve soil and water quality: Offering environmental education opportunities for students through direct project involvement in preparing and maintaining a planting site. The project involved students in years 11 and 12 who are completing their Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management (CALM).
Results of the urban forest initiative
The KSHS P&C urban forest initiative saw the involvement of the P&C, other parents, grandparents, teachers, educational assistants, the school’s CALM and Environmental Management students, year 7 students who wanted to give back to the school community, local businesses and horticultural experts from Ellenby Tree Farm and Apace Nursery.
Together they achieved the following outcomes for their urban forest initiative:
- Prepared a healthy soil and environment for the trees and plants to grow by clearing the back at the school of weeds and pest plants. This was mainly completed by the year 11 and 12 CALM students, nine parents and six student volunteers.
- Planted 12 mature Weeping Peppermint trees and 480 small Western Australian native shrubs. These helped improve the environment of three areas within the school, whilst also benefiting the students and teachers mentally and physically through the aesthetics and shade elements the plants provide.
The urban forest initiative also helped create connections within Kent Street High School, including:
- Positive engagement between the lower class school students and their upper school colleagues.
- Practical learning by the year 11 and 12 CALM students through interaction with school gardeners and expert horticulturalists.
- Partnerships between the school with local Vic Park businesses and horticultural experts in Ellenby Tree Farm and Apace Nursery.
Next steps for Kent Street’s Urban Forest
The P&C will continually be requesting assistance, encouraging involvement and practical learning from the school’s CALM students to be the caretakers of the project and ensure the new plants and trees receive what they need to survive and thrive.
The P&C are already conducting research and plan to expand on their original urban forest initiative to plant an Indigenous garden and yarning circle at the school, with a focus on medical and edible native plants.
The planned project aims to not only contribute to the Town’s Urban Forest outcomes but also acknowledge the Aboriginal heritage and culture within the school community.
Have an idea to help improve our urban forest?
Apply for the Urban Forest Grants Program for funding assistance between October 2020 - February 2021 or share your planting ideas for the Town’s Urban Forest team to review and implement.