Published on: 4 April 2014

While the Year 5 Earthkeepers Outdoor Education program may have finished at Kooringal, the boys are still working hard back in the classroom to become ‘Level One Earthkeepers’.

The four Year 5 classes have each spent three days and two nights away, during February and March, at the School’s outdoor education centre Kooringal, which is transformed into an Earthkeepers Training Centre. Here, the Year 5 boys became Earthkeeper Apprentices where they learn to engage their heads, hearts and hands in understanding the natural world.

In class groups, the Kooringal team guides the boys through practical challenges where they learn the science behind ecosystems while developing a personal connection with the earth.

Assistant Director of Kooringal Ryan Myles said this connection included finding the boys’ own ’Magic Spot’. “A magic spot is a special place in the natural world where the boys can be alone to pause, reflect, ponder and dream. It provides a great environment for them to make connections between the planet and a special place they begin to value,” he said.

Gus Sheldrick (5JG) said: “Later in my life, I would love to get a farm around where Kooringal is because I love getting in touch with the outdoor world. On EM’s Diary Walk, I loved the Bosun’s Chair to get to the other side of the river and then we walked to our Magic Spots. Eventually, at the end of the day, I loved going down to the river with Mr Cucciniello.”

While at camp, the boys also make ‘pledges’ to reduce their use of energy and materials. These pledges are to lessen their impact on the earth such as turning off lights at home, riding bikes to school or taking three-minute showers. Parents are also asked to support their boys and actively assist where possible.

The Earthkeepers program began in classrooms at the start of the term and continues into Term 2 through a range of subjects. The boys are working hard to earn their keys, including knowledge, experience and yourself, towards becoming Level 1 Earthkeepers.