Published on: 22 March 2013

The Year 5 Earthkeepers Camp is more than just three days of outdoor fun and discovery – it forms a major part of the Year 5 program and resonates throughout the entire year. The program instills in the boys a respect for the earth and empowers them with knowledge on how they can lessen their impact upon it.

Over the past three weeks the School’s outdoor education facility, Kooringal, has been transformed into an Earthkeepers Training Centre. Here, Year 5 boys became Earthkeeper Apprentices where they learn to engage their heads, hearts and hands in understanding the natural world.

In class groups boys spend three days with the Kooringal team, who guide them through practical challenges in learning the science behind ecosystems while developing a personal connection with the earth. Acting 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,” Mr Myles said.

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 (knowledge, experience and yourself) and towards becoming a Level 1 Earthkeepers.

Thomas Keogh (5SM): “The Earthkeepers Camp was very relaxing and a good chance to get away from the city. We were learning so much in the three days but it didn’t feel like work because the teachers did such a good job to make it fun. The best part was spending the entire day in the bush and spending time in our ‘magic spot’, to write down our feelings and thoughts about being connected to the earth. The activities all related to how we can look after the earth and now that I am an Earthkeeper Apprentice, I have taught my family all about how to reduce water wasting and energy leaks in my home. Even though it rained for one day that made the experience even more exciting as we just put our raincoats on and retraced EM’s map on a long walk in the bush. I wish the camp was one day longer as there was so much to do at Kooringal. I loved the camp.”