The BEATS - Beating the drum for biodiversity
The BEATS - Beating the drum for biodiversity
Ep 4. Eat Dirt

A podcast with Educator Melanie Tyas (also Community of Practice Coordinator for Landcare NSW)

In a radical education program at Bellingen High School – Mel transformed how and where a class of Year 8 kids learn one amazing day a week.

One student was overheard saying: “This program’s great – it’s teaching me how to deal with peer pressure.” And another more reluctant, more academically-minded student said in relation to Gumbaynggirr Language: “I’ve learnt more today than I have the whole year at school!”

Says Mel: “It’s a massive learning curve all round. As we look after the land and heal it, we are also helping kids heal and improve their ‘mental health’.”

Mel quotes the NSW Premier on health. He said: ‘We can’t tinker with it – we have to transform it!’ “So too education!” says Mel.

“The reality is that Eat Dirt champions optimism. It gives kids hope – they connect to each other and to the land, and they enjoy learning by doing.”

Known as ‘Integrated Learning’ Eat Dirt develops the 21st Century skills of agility, innovation, and creativity as well as the ability to think on your feet. It builds on basic numeracy and literacy skills – making them fun and memorable.

‘How big is this patch of land? How many plants will we need? What’s the soil quality? What’s the slope?’ Etcetera…

The Outcome: It’s all about connecting. As Mel says, “If we are going to fix the environment, we’ll do it through connecting. Through cooperation not competition.”

Her vision: A Landcare day once a week in every school – from Kindy to year 12.

Think: Feel: Do: Melanie Tyas wants us to:
• Think: That transformational change is possible. When we work together, we can achieve amazing things.

• Feel: Really positive. Feel empowered. Mel says: “My whole career – first as a teacher, then a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger for 20 years, and now a Landcare coordinator and educator – has led me to this place.”

• Do: Join your local Landcare, Bushcare or Dune-care group. Get involved.

In this positive, optimistic, transformational podcast we learn that we can save the planet.

Mel thank you for inspiring us at to continue to do more, learn more and care more.