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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Fawcett-Smith

Morayfield Students Shine at 2018 Ekka

Morayfield State School’s Guardians of the Garden have continued their winning streak, achieving a first place, second place and an Excellence Award at this year’s Ekka.

Coming first in the 2017 Ekka School Garden Competition, this year Morayfield State School’s Guardians of the Garden doubled their efforts, entering the School Garden Competition and the School Scarecrow Competition.

As an extension of the school’s garden program run by Science Teacher Ms Harrington, the Guardians tackled this year’s School Garden Competition theme ‘Bringing Biodiversity Back to Our Backyard’ requiring students to create a garden habitat that would provide a suitable home for a variety of living species and attract native flora and fauna.

“We talked about what biodiversity was, why it was good for the environment and what plants and items we needed to attract animals to the garden, and then we took some time planning our wheelbarrow,” Ms Harrington says.

Reusing the wheelbarrow donated by State Member for Morayfield Mark Ryan for last year’s winning entry, the Guardians created ‘The Linger Longer Garden’. Featuring a freshly painted theme on the outside, an abundance of wildlife welcoming plants, a bug apartment and more, their entry was awarded second place.

“We took six children in for the judging which was a really good experience for them, as not many of the kids had been on the train let alone into the city or to the Ekka,” Ms Harrington says. “They were over the moon.”

First-time entrants in the School Scarecrow Competition, the Guardians elected to enter Class 1 (Backyard Scarecrow) which required students to create a scarecrow that will attract animals rather than scare them away.

“We wanted the scarecrow to be a whole school community activity, so every time something new was needed for it I’d let the kids know on parade,” Ms Harrington says.

“We placed boxes outside the staffroom, and each day I’d arrive at work to find items that the kids had collected like gumnuts and sticks for the bug houses or pockets to sew on and put plants in. At lunchtime, children came to the science room and we’d stuff the scarecrow’s legs and create the bug houses, so it turned out be a massive school effort.”

Described as a “Mecca of gardening and environmental sustainability” by Competition Judge Claire Bickle, Horticulturalist, and designer of the Our Backyard feature garden at the Ekka Flower and Garden precinct, Morayfield State School’s scarecrow ‘Mr Biology’ was not only crowned the winning backyard scarecrow, but also awarded the Excellence Award for achieving the highest overall score across the two scarecrow competition classes.

Learning of the win over the phone, Principal Loretta White called Ms Harrington to the office. “I let Ms Harrington know via a whole school announcement, and she said later that when she walked out the office door the atmosphere was just electrifying,” Mrs White says.

Adds Ms Harrington, “As I was walking back to the science room, I could hear all through the school this little vibration of cheers and hoorays of ‘We’ve won! We’ve won!’ Standing there listening to it, it was the most extraordinary feeling I’ve ever had. It was amazing.”

That winning feeling will continue when students visit Government House to see Mr Biology performing his official Scarecrow duties in the Government House grounds, and to meet His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland who presented the competition awards.

Mr Mark Ryan, a strong supporter of and regular visitor to the school’s sustainability garden, says, “The Morayfield State School Garden program is not just great for the students, it’s an inspiration to us all to start growing a little plot of vegies and herbs, no matter how small a space we have to work with. It’s an honour to help out in any little way I can.”


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