Krambach Public School and its community build a new sensory garden

Bethany Keegan and Cruiz Tierney painting a few pipe for the garden. Photo supplied

Bethany Keegan and Cruiz Tierney painting a few pipe for the garden. Photo supplied

Krambach Public School and the community have rallied together to create a spectacular garden which has really lifted their spirits in the challenging times brought by the pandemic.

The garden was built after the school secured a NSW Education Sustainable School grant of $4750 late last year.

The farming community of Krambach had been hit with drought and endured scorching fires, but the grant was a chance to create a beautiful Sensory Garden in which students could rejuvenate, explore with their senses, learn about sustainability and discover.

The project had just got off the ground when COVID hit, and parents and community were no longer able enter school grounds to help.

Despite the restrictions the relieving principal, Toni Johnson and her staff had faith the project could reach completion.

Lucas Soper planting in the garden. Photo supplied

Lucas Soper planting in the garden. Photo supplied

Not being able to speak face to face, school newsletters, e-mails, phone calls, texts and social media messages became the new way to bring community together.

Families worked from home to create, make and support the garden in any way they could. Native bee hotel frames were built based on the years three to six students' designs, sunny stepping stones were cut and carefully painted, hardwood signs made and colourful table toppers sewn.

The grant money stretched a long way due to ample donations from the school's Parents and Citizens community and local businesses. Donations such as quality soil for garden beds, the cable reel table and mud kitchen tools were given freely. Bunnings Taree donated $200 in gift cards along with discounted supplies for building the garden. HKL Landscape supplies discounted crusher dust. Wingham Nursery, Gloucester nursery, Ladybug nursery, Lumpy's nursery, Valley Flowers Nursery and Nature's Care nursery all donated plants when presented with letters students wrote requesting a specific plant contribution. Families and local community members donated woodchip and cuttings, and contributed by buying additional plants to fill the garden. Barrier Signs of Taree donated a fantastic welcome sign designed by one of the families.

Huxley Kranz testing out the ball run. Photo supplied

Huxley Kranz testing out the ball run. Photo supplied

The school put in a monster effort. With garden working bee days banned, staff and students willingly gave up lunchtime to help dig and plant. School staff all volunteered time on weekends, after school hours and during school holidays. General Assistant Justin Hobbs, named 'the magic man' by the students, built most of the structures in the garden and was constantly surprising students and staff with the quality and creativity of his work. Uncle Steve, a Worimi elder, gave time to work with the school labelling the garden signs with Gathang, the local Aboriginal language. Lara of Yukul Art directed the students in painting and creating a spectacular ball run and rainbow serpent path that winds through the garden. Together this supportive community and big-hearted school made a garden they are proud of.

In an environment where families and community have been separated by rules to keep everyone COVID-safe, the wonderful community at Krambach found ways to support their school's Sustainable Garden project and beat the COVID blues.