Over 500 students and teachers from across the state gathered in the Royal Botanic Gardens to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Victorian Schools Garden Awards (VSGA).
Bonbeach Primary School, a small school of 300 students in Melbourne’s South East, was awarded the grand prize of the ‘Kevin Heinze Perpetual Award’ by Judith Graley, Parliamentary Secretary for Education, for its creative garden which houses a fantastic array of spaces.
Their garden which includes an imagination garden, food forests, frog bogs, giant worm farm, chicken coop and outdoor classrooms was voluntarily built over the past 4 years by parents, teachers, students and the wider community. The garden has been integrated into the student’s learning under the science curriculum, as well as playing host to the wider community for education and sustainability workshops.
In its 40th year, the Victorian Schools Garden Awards have a long history of bringing gardening skills and the joy of learning to school-aged children through their school gardens and this special anniversary was marked with a planting of Corymbia leichhardtii, a beautiful small gum tree, by Ms Graley and Bonbeach Primary students in the Guilfoyle Lawn of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
At this year’s ceremony $40,000 worth of vouchers and products were rewarded to 35 Victorian schools. The Most Engaging Garden for Learning Award was highly sought after, which proves that schools are seeing the many learning, health and well-being benefits of taking learning outdoors and into the gardens.
VSGA Chairman and Nursery and Garden Industry of Victoria CEO, Craig Taberner explains, “With the tremendous support of Victorian schools and program sponsors, the VSGA has stood the test of time, as we celebrate 40 years. Participation in the program remains as strong as ever, and it is fabulous to see the large number of Victorian schools that use outdoor spaces as part of their learning environment.”
The VSGA acknowledges and thanks all our partners, but in particular, the Victorian Government. Through the ongoing commitment of the Victorian Department of Education and Training, it is estimated that the Victorian Government has contributed in excess of one million dollars towards the program over the past two decades and assisted in growing many young gardeners.
Click here for 2017 VSGA Award Results