Magic spots, pledges herald start of outdoor education journey
“Shhh! Can you hear the birds whistling? Can you smell the fresh air? Can you see hundreds of trees? Can you feel the wind on your face? I think you can - in my magic spot.” – Hal Monro (5PW)
Hal was among 100 boys to take the first step in the outdoor education journey at Christ Church – the Year 5 Earthkeepers Camp.
For the past three weeks, the School’s outdoor education facility, Kooringal, was transformed into an Earthkeepers Training Centre. Here, the boys became Earthkeeper Apprentices where they learned to engage their heads, hearts and hands in understanding the natural world.
In class groups, the boys spent three days with the School’s outdoor education team, who guided the boys through practical challenges in learning the science behind the ecosystems while developing a personal connection with the earth.
This connection included finding their own ’magic spot’ - a special place where the boys could be alone and in touch with life. Acting Assistant Director of Kooringal Ryan Myles said a magic spot was a place in the natural world where they could pause and reflect, ponder and dream. “They provide a great environment for young people to make connections between the planet and this one special place they have begun to value,” Mr Myles said.
In his Earthkeeper diary, Wolf Hughes (5PW) said: “At my magic spot I heard the rustling of the trees and animals all around me. As well as trees and rocks, I saw a beautiful stream of water. I smelt fresh leaves and bark, you can smell the water. I felt the tough rock and tree bark around me.”
While David Chen (5PW) wrote: “I’m feeling very excited about becoming an Apprentice Earthkeeper since I have wanted to know more about the earth since I was a young boy… There were dragonflies and birds flying past, it was spectacular. I wish we could stay for a whole two weeks.”
While at camp, the boys also made ‘pledges’ to reduce their use of energy and materials. These included pledges to lessen their impact on the earth such as turning off lights at home, riding bikes to school or taking three-minute showers. Parents were also asked to support their boys and actively assist where possible.
The Earthkeepers programme began in classrooms at the start of the term, and continues into Term 2 through a range of subjects.
Mr Myles said the boys worked really hard at the Earthkeepers Training Centre. “They all seemed to really enjoy the magic, mystery and knowledge involved in becoming an Earthkeeper Apprentice,” he said.