October 27, 2018 at 1:40 pm #518
I’m Sandra a teacher in the northern suburbs. I’m not clear on how this program is to be run. In theory it sounds wonderfully educational and hands on for the school community. I have read the previous attachments. From what I understand the pilot project will utilise funds that the school has set aside for Garden/Grounds Cost Centre. Does this mean the entire budget? Do you do an ‘assessment’of what the school would like as a Native Garden school? How much does that cost? Who does the plant selection, planting etc. How do you get teachers on-board to take ownership and teach this to their students when most will say they already have too much to teach? Most importantly how do you engage Principals who may not be willing to hand over control of money?
To be honest, I have never heard of this organisation apart from this years Royal Show, so how much do our school communities know? I think more promotion of the positive benefits to schools via pamphlets or a media release through the department website to principals would be a good starting point.
Just some points to ponder.October 29, 2018 at 7:56 am #519
Hi Sandra, Bryan Mather here. Thanks for all the questions! I’ll try and answer them in order, but repost any that I miss. Here we go.
1) Yes, the theory is OK. We have presented the idea to two school boards and the Dept of Education, and we all agree it seems financially sound, though innovative. No, it doesn’t involve the entire budget, but the idea is over time to not spend as much on reticulation, grass mowing and disposal, tree trimming etc that is required in exotic (non-native) gardens. We already realise these savings on a large scale for other clients, so it’s proven in practice.
2) UWC does the plant selection in consultation with the community. Putting the right plant in is really the secret of success; Sue and Hazel have just returned this week from a conference on WA native plants in Victoria where Hazel was invited to present. Our mission as an organisation is to share our knowledge into the community.
3) UWC currently underwrites (donates) its expertise, services and infrastructure (like this forum and the wikipedia) to support projects like this one to succeed. Where a client (including a school) sees that our paid services are of value, they can engage us as they would any person or company (like the school’s current gardening services).
4) Our value proposition is that it reduces school operating cost to transition school grounds to native gardens. So far some Principals and Boards agree. Two of the UWC directors have a financial background, and can work with the school Business Manager in identifying costs and savings in the program.
5) UWC came into existence in June 2018, so it’s not surprising you haven’t heard of us! However, each of the UWC directors have long careers in their areas of expertise. My part of creating UWC came from my commitment to creating sustainable, rapid and measurable improvement in mental health in WA. Ros and my previous project was with St Bart’s, implementing Recovery practice with those at risk of homelessness. As a lecturer and teacher myself, I see schools as the centre of cultural change.
6) This project acknowledges many teachers are needing more support in classroom management, student engagement and producing measurable improvement in student outcomes. It is designed to provide practical help through shared learning materials, amongst other things. This is the part that would best be discussed as a group, with teachers providing input on what exactly would help most.
7) I’m an Enterprise Architect by career, and lead change for a living. What works is doing, as well as talking about. This is an offer to schools and individuals who are interested in doing.
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