Published on: 20 March 2015

The Year 5 Earthkeepers Outdoor Education program began on a high note this year with the news that Christ Church and Kooringal Outdoor Education Centre had received 2014 Earthkeepers Honours from the Institute of Earth Education.

Assistant Director of Kooringal Mark Cucciniello said the honour recognised exemplary training sites with 80 to 100 per cent of students completing their training to become Level 1 Earthkeepers.

Over the past three weeks, Kooringal staff welcomed boys taking part in the 2015 Earthkeepers program. The four, Year 5 classes each spent three days and two nights at the School’s outdoor education centre, which was transformed into an Earthkeepers Training Centre.

Here, the boys become Earthkeeper Apprentices with the Kooringal team guiding them through a variety of practical challenges where they learn the science behind ecosystems while developing a personal connection with the earth.

Mr Cucciniello said it was a wonderful to watch the boys go through their first Outdoor Education experience. “The boys participate in a magical journey and through their encounters, learn how important their connections to the natural world are and how their actions can affect those connections,” he said.

On the final day of their Earthkeeper training, boys write a letter to EM (the keeper of Earthkeeper keys). Anonymous (5JH) wrote: “EM, thank you for showing me how amazing the earth can be, please collect more Earthkeepers to make the world a better place and better for the environment.”

Kenneth Lo (5SM) wrote: “I have been having a wonderful time at the Kooringal Earthkeeper Training Centre and I can’t wait to become a Level 1 Earthkeeper. I enjoyed all the activities and loved going to my ‘magic spot’ and writing in my diary.”

The Earthkeepers program began in classrooms at the start of the term and continues into Term 2 through a range of classroom subjects. While on camp, the boys also make ‘pledges’ to lessen their impact on the earth by reducing their use of energy and materials.