On Thursday 24 November, over 400 teachers, education support staff and students from over 30 Victorian schools flocked to the Oak Lawn at the Royal Botanic Gardens for the 45th annual Victoria Schools Garden Awards Ceremony. After two years of online ceremonies, it was very special to be able to hold the event in person and celebrate the achievements of teachers and students together as a community.
The day began with a traditional smoking ceremony by Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin of the Wurundjeri people to welcome attendees to the gardens, before the microphone was handed to the emcee for the day, NGIV CEO and VSGP Chair Craig Taberner. With the sun only occasionally peeking out from behind the clouds and the mosquitoes out in full force, the students in attendance were a credit to their schools and a reflection of the commitment of dedicated teachers across Victorian schools. Every school in attendance was recognised for their efforts and achievements with every school taking home an award; however, only one school could take home the most prestigious awards of the day, the Kevin Heinze Perpetual Award. It was awarded to St Louis de Monfort’s School.
The staff and students at Aspendale’s St Louis de Monfort’s Primary School recognise the undeniable link between green spaces and wellbeing and have been working towards creating a place of mindful and sustainable practices. The school’s grounds, especially the gardens, home to a wide range of animals and plants, play a major part in students’ journeys towards feeling connected to and nurtured by the environment around them. Visit the school and it’s easy to see just how fundamental gardening is to the school’s curriculum and culture. The school features all types of gardens – edible, sensory, indigenous and vertical – as well as a fernery, grapevines, along with chicken, guinea pig, turtle, lizard and frog enclosures to boot. Grade 3 and 4 students, in particular, have experienced so much of what gardening has to offer, participating in Garden-to-Kitchen classes, enjoying garden spaces every recess and lunch time, all while being responsible for the care of the school’s animals, and being encouraged to play music and create art inspired by their time in the garden. St Louis de Montfort’s are truly deserving winners of the Kevin Heinze Perpetual Award this year and we’re sure they will continue to provide unique and inspiring educational experiences for all students.
NGIV and VSGP acknowledge and appreciate the work of all schools that incorporate gardening programs into their curriculum and school culture. We’re passionate about fostering a love for gardening and horticulture in future generations and recognise the important role schools play in offering enjoyable and engaging early experiences for students and commend the efforts that have been made to get involved in VSGP’s 2023 Grant and Award Programs.
We would like to thank the Victorian Schools Garden Program’s incredible sponsors who recognise the benefit of involving students in outdoor learning; we greatly appreciate your continued support and contributions to the program. We also welcome the opportunity to develop new sponsorship partnerships in 2023 – if you would like to get involved, please contact NGIV or VGSP.
With so many amazing school programs showcased this year, we can’t wait for 2023. It’s sure to be another exciting year for VGSP.
Click here to view 2022 VSGP Awards Results.