2016 NT NRM People's Choice Award

Voting for People’s Choice for the Territory NRM Awards is now open.

To vote, please see the webpage here – http://www.tnrmconference.org.au/awards

It has a direct link to the Survey Monkey site where people can vote.

Whilst all nominee's are worthy recipients, ALEC would like to draw attention to Alice Springs Kites Program - which are nominated for Junior NRM Champion. The KITES program has had significant involvement with Food for Alice and the Alice Springs Community Garden.

Here's more about KITES from Food for Alice coordinator, Carmel Vandermolen.

KITES is a school program for kids from remote communities that is run at Sadadeen Primary School. It was over a year ago that the students first visited the Gardens, and I have to say that first visit was an interesting experience. It was also a great lesson reminding me that as kids or adults, if we do not understand the reason for a “rule” we are less likely to follow it. For example, why stay of the garden beds, what is wrong with running through them? 

One year on and it is a very different story that has very little to do with my input and every thing to do with the garden, recycling, and general environmental and sustainability programs run at KITES in conjunction with Sadadeen Primary School.

Now when the students visit the gardens, I rarely have to remind them of the general garden rules. They automatically stay off the garden beds, they get excited to show me what is growing in the beds, and at times they have more of an idea on what is growing than I do and what to do with them, how to cook them. The KITES students are being educated about a whole of system approach - from preparing the soil, to growing, to cooking and even looking at the waste cycle of what they are doing.  

There was a time when KITES were even supplying produce to Food for Alice and swapping it for produce they were not growing themselves. All of which would be used in there cooking class the following Wednesday. Unfortunately like a few other local gardens, the hail storm caused a lot of damage to their garden and it is still recovering so the students have not been able to supply produce for the last few month. That however has not stopped them from growing their own for their cooking classes. As a way of supporting the students any left over produce from the FFA market is picked up by the school students on the bus run to school the following Monday.

Recently the students came and visited the garden, however instead of doing the activities that are in the education guide I asked the teacher if the students would like to help me in getting the Food for Alice Plot ready for some new plants. We needed to remove the old broccoli plants and get some good manure into the plot to give the soil a good boost. 

Now how many people out there would worry about letting a bunch of school students lose on there garden with shovels and pitch forks? I am guessing a few.  The end result is that with the students help we managed to do what would have taken me a good 3 or 4 hours to do, in less than one hour. We had 10 students happily working at pulling out the plants, shredding them up for compost, shoveling poo and getting it all on the garden bed, asking questions about what we were doing and generally enjoying the work. The only issue arising was the garden bed next to the Food for Alice plot getting a bit of poo too!

KITES is one of the finalists for the Junior NRM Champion Award from the Northern Territory, Natural Resource Management 2016 awards.  We wish them all the best in the awards, and even more for all the skill, knowledge and effort that the teachers and students put into their work. Effort that will be rewarded so many times over in the future for all of these students.

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