Mandala Diehl is director of Federal Children’s Community Centre in northern NSW and a childhood educator. Over years she watched an overrun piece of land grow thick with lantana and had a vision for change: she would create a living classroom – a bush tucker garden for the children to learn about nature, to appreciate nature and to be in nature.
Together with a local bush regeneration expert and the Widjibull elders (on whose land the garden stands) they created an astonishingly beautiful garden that thrives today. This is more than just a bushtucker garden. It’s a living, breathing classroom that teaches children about bush foods, plants and local animals. It also works to forge a bridge between the indigenous community and it’s white inhabitants.
People visit to sit in the beauty of it’s nature, they come to learn how to replant the native plants that belong to this region, and they begin to understand the impacts of working with the ecosystem of the Widjabul land. Animals are returning, the soil is nurtured and the community tie is strong.
Today anyone can enjoy the space; come together and learn about this living classroom.
Federal Community Children’s centre is also thriving. Under the nurturing care and tutelage of a bunch of remarkably passionate educators, each child’s individuality is celebrated. The kids spend swathes of each day outdoors in child-led play, and in this garden.
Come and visit sometime. It’s worth the short drive.
Author and Podcast Producer: Kimberley Lipschus
NE PLUS ULTRA
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