We're very close to the end of the Newstart program and this week was definitely one of our busiest and most productive. We had many fun and exciting new activities to try, starting off this week with an interactive environmental session at the local wetlands in Jacana. The students were able to test the state of the water through a range of tests including clarity, pH levels, turbidity, alkalinity and acidic levels as well as water and air temperature. The session was run by Melissa who is an environmental leader from the Hume City Council. She taught all students about environmental sustainability and strategies we can all adapt in our everyday life in order to help protect our environment. After this great sessino we headed down to Kangan Institute in Broadmeadows, where we had a tour of the grounds to see firsthand what the TAFE has to offer, it got all the students asking questions about future pathways that were of interest to them. We then got an exciting crash course into carpentry, where students built and constructed their own bird box to take home. This was a valuable hands on experience for all the students as we have a number of students interested in working in trades once they leave school.
Thursday was another great one out on the water, this time in canoes down on the Yarra River. After a briefing session learning the best canoeing techniques, we put our boats in the water at Bellbird picnic area in Kew. Students were in pairs in the canoes, and we were hugely impressed with how cooperative and willing to work together everyone was. Canoeing is a challenging activity, as it's impossible to achieve success without working cohesively with the other person in your boat. It can also be very frustrating, and teaches students the importance of being aware of your tone and body language when working with others. The students all embraced this challenge and worked wonderfully together to paddle up to Fairfield Boathouse for lunch, and back to our starting point with a different partner. We also had a chance to repeat our water tests on the Yarra River as a comparison.
Friday morning we started off with a radio broadcast speaking all things environment. The students all chatted to Georgina and Naomi from North West FM & Banksia Gardens community services and the water testing they undertook this week. All the students really enjoyed the session and learnt a lot. Everyone worked wonderfully together and supported each other. In the afternoon we headed back to Collingwood Alternative School where we began our bike restoration project. This project involves repairing donated bikes before donating them to a group of younger children in the community and is a rewarding experience for all involved. The first step however is getting the bikes to a safe standard before we give them to others. Donovan from Good Cycles came out to show our guys the most important aspects of bike maintenance, including working on the tyres, brakes and gears. It’s a great opportunity for our students to pick up some handy bike repair skills from a highly skilled bike mechanic.
If you'd like to check out the Radio show, the podcast can be found here- www.hipcast.com/podcast/hqnyyr14