Age Groups: 7-13
Grant Name: 2018 Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants
School: Melton Girl Guides
Grant Sponsor: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
The Melton Wildflower Girl Guides have regular excursions to the Melton Botanic Garden during their weekly unit meetings. These outings provide the girls with an opportunity to assist the Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden during the Grow the Garden Days on the 4th Sunday of each month, and Tuesday and Thursday mornings during school holidays.
Wanting to help grow their local Botanic Gardens further, the Girl Guides applied for, and were successful in obtaining a Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grant. They used their $4,800 funding to implement their project, Helping Grow Melton Botanic Garden.
The project encompassed planting suitable indigenous vegetation including shrubs, herbs and grasses, as well as a few trees.
The project improved the biodiversity and natural environment by creating frog, insect and bird habitats along Ryans Creek and into the Darlingsford Lake areas of the gardens. Indigenous vegetation was restored in the specific project area that will improve the soil and water quality, since the lake is right next to the project site.
The project was successful in raising awareness and educating the Girl Guides on numerous topics relevant to the natural environment including identifying locations and ideal habitats of local native fauna.
The Girl Guides learned which native flora species historically occurred on the project site, which was lost and identified the need for it to be restored. Importantly, they also learned how we can prevent that from happening again.
This project helped empower the Girl Guides to take responsibility for their local natural environment and showed them how capable they are at making improvements to their local, natural environment.
Community and Social Outcomes
A local community group ‘the Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden’ were community partners for this project, supporting the Girl Guides in multiple ways, including educating the girls and the public about which plants attract birds, butterflies and frogs, and how to make new habitats for fauna.
The Girl Guides worked well with the volunteers from the Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden. The large age gaps made for some nice conversations as the Girl Guides are full of questions and the volunteers are happy to talk. The Grow the Garden planting days had members of the public there, as well as volunteers and Girl Guides, and there was a cuppa and biscuits after at the nearby nursery depot that increased social interaction.
In addition to generating valuable environmental outcomes with their project, the girls learned why it is important to protect, connect with and enjoy nature, including the mental, physical and social health benefits to the community of spending time with each other planting in the local, natural environment.
In their own words, below are quotes from a few of the Melton Girl Guides who participated in the project:
Emma, 10-years-old: “Our meetings in the Botanic Garden are really fun and really pretty. It’s good because there is lots of space for different things to do. Every time we go there we see the plants have grown more and how the garden is changing.”
Aurora, 8-years-old: “I like going to the Botanic Garden because I get to see plants I wouldn’t normally see in other places and that something is always blooming or different when I am there.”