Merri Creek Management Committee

indigenous school garden Learning Grounds is part of Merri Creek Management Committee’s commitment to environmental education. It is a program to assist schools in the northern metropolitan area of Melbourne with their plans to establish indigenous gardens in school grounds. This is how local schools contribute to the expansion and integrity of the flora and fauna of the Merri Creek Catchment. (Of course, no matter where you are, indigenous planting contributes to the integrity of waterways and environment.)

Schools participating in Learning Grounds are encouraged to develop and link outdoor learning opportunities to their indigenous gardens whether the stage is early (such as the planning phase) or later (important maintenance and establishment phase).

MCMC's Learning Grounds program encourages school communities to plan indigenous gardens for their school grounds in a way that closely involves students. Developing indigenous gardens in school grounds presents special opportunities for hands-on environmental learning plus an endless range of opportunities across the curriculum from communications to philosophy, from numeracy to fine arts.

Since the program began, MCMC has assisted over 50 schools to achieve their visions of indigenous gardens for their school grounds.

Indigenous Gardening in Schools

Schools may have a common vision for an indigenous garden in the school grounds, but their needs are highly variable. For example, one school may favour shady trees for sun protected play, while another may wish to plant prickly species to create 'no-go' areas. Other schools have preferred to develop areas thematically, such as using native grassland species or to attract birds or butterflies. Indigenous gardens have other amenable qualities, since they use less water once established, they do not require fertilisers and they are often cheaper to maintain. Also, indigenous gardens provide a great example for residents in the wider community to follow in their home gardens and they are a contribution to the indigenous flora and fauna of the Merri Catchment.

Educational Outcomes

The Learning Grounds program incorporates a number of student activities including:

  • Writing
  • Inviting
  • Creating
  • Constructing
  • Imagining
  • Planning
  • Measuring
  • Mapping

Learning Grounds is:

  • Thinking inclusively and practically about your school grounds and your school’s needs.
  • Developing a plan to fund school ground development and discover grant opportunities.
  • Planning to prepare, plant and maintain an indigenous habitat garden.
  • Realising experiential and integrated curriculum goals - at your door step.
  • Linking up with local communities and school neighbors.
  • Extending the context to learn about the conservation efforts of others.
  • Creating habitat links for other fauna.

Using Learning grounds for the Victorian Essential Learning Standards 2005 (VELS)

A case study and useful website links.

Merri Events Calendar