JPC Eagle Summer - page 22

A Year on
Finch Farm
Community spirit
has been ignited as
our farm goes from
strength to strength!
Koala Food Plantation
has been
established on Finch Farm to
provide food for captive koalas.
Working in conjunction with Naomi
and Stuart from
Koala Services, Queensland,
food from Finch Farm will be collected
from the plantation and distributed to local
facilities that provide shelter and a home for
injured and recovering koalas and koalas in
captivity. The Koala Food Plantation was
established with the help of students and
parents during two working bees throughout
2012. Armed with hole-diggers, seedlings,
stakes, fertilizer pellets, mulch and protective
bags the volunteers established our very own
little corner of “koala heaven”. Over 400
trees were planted in two locations - at the
entrance to the farm site and on the southern
bank of Stephen Bowers Oval.
It is estimated that it will take 18 months
to two years before the plantation is mature
enough for harvesting.
Each koala in captivity requires
approximately 10 branches of leaves a day
to survive - and because they have an innate
ability to judge the water content, nutrition
content and toxin level of the food -
a variety of eucalypt types are offered
at each feeding session. Our plantation will
provide Tallow Wood - which is a favourite
of the koala all year round.
To enhance the speed of growth of the
plantation, each of the 400 trees needs
approximately one litre of water a day!
There will be plenty of opportunities for
willing workers to help with this task and
over the next two years, volunteers will
be called on to nurture our Koala Food
Plantation to maturity.
Up among the gum trees... the Finch FarmKoala Plantation
he Farm has been a platform
to reignite and foster community
spirit and from its humble
beginnings, is now an engaging
extension to our classroom learning
The timeline began in November 2011
when the proof of concept was ratified by the
Headmaster and the Board.
In April 2012, heavy equipment arrived
to contour and shape the farm site with fill
from the Noelene Munns Learning Centre
site. In May, the working bees began with a
call for community support to turf and mulch
the area to add stability to the contoured
terraces. By June, the team
of hard working volunteers had raked, hoed,
dug, filled, chopped, stomped, built, levelled,
painted, barrowed and planted their way
to a working farm. The construction began
in earnest in July with volunteers creating
garden beds and chicken houses. Fruit trees
were planted to establish the orchard.
In August sustainable living was the focus
of the Year 4 camp and a willing band
of students planted the first of the garden
beds. September saw Stage Two of the koala
food plantation established and a crop
of beans and lettuce was harvested from the
garden beds. The Year 2 students experimented
with planting their own watermelons.
The first staff meeting was hosted on Finch
Farm in October to give teachers some insights
into how the activity of the farm provides
support for classroom practice.
During 2013, livestock, including goats,
ducks, chickens, cows, sheep and llamas will be
introduced to the farm - all nurtured and cared
for by a newly formed co-curricular group.
The Finch Farm Busy Bees
hard at work
This time last year,
the Finch Farm was
only a concept and
from this seed of an
idea, it has blossomed
in just 12 months into
a community farm
built by the John Paul
College family.
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