Assistant Principal Zane Osborn and his primary school kids have heaps of fun learning Maths, English, History, and Science in the garden, up trees and in the bush. In this podcast the nature-loving charity – theBEATS.org’s – Louise Denver chats with Zane about his passion for the environment and how Zane factors sustainability into his everyday teaching.
Together his class discover why bees are so important – what pollination is and why it matters when it comes to making a delicious pizza! And the Hamilton PS kids’ chose barking owls for their special project – barking owls? And now up in Armidale, Zane and his new classes are going to explore how to protect the region’s unique long neck turtles.
This podcast is 20 minutes of pure gold! Do yourself a favour and have a listen. I promise you, you will feel really good. P.S. Zane is also working with theBEATS.org to create a step-by-step guide for Teachers so everyone can have fun and discover how Zane and his classes approach their learning. And for a special treat you can see the Hamilton kids YouTube video series here!
A theBEATS.org podcast with Artist Bibi Barba, a saltwater woman, a First Nation’s elder, and cultural warrior.
In a first for NSW schools, Bibi is creating murals of local dreaming and totems with the kids. She calls the striking murals, ‘Knowledge Papers’. They connect the schoolchildren to country and nature. And together they share stories that are beautiful to listen to.
Internationally renowned now as an artist, Bibi shares her own story of her Grandmother from the Darrambul people in Queensland. Her name. Lulu-gigi – or waterlily with green frog as a totem and the snake.
Her grandfather, from present day Byron Bay, tells how his ancestors watched Captain Cook’s Endeavour for a long time – thinking of him as a pelican.
The linking totem that joins the seaboard of her grandfather’s country, from Byron to the Gulaga Mountain or Mother Mountain, is Galwa – the whale.
As Bibi tells us of her growing and learning, she looks to a future where artists, elders, teachers and school children
Think: that they can learn about ancient knowledge
Feel: that they belong to culture and so connect to country, and
Do: by participating in Aboriginal communities. They can go to dances and/or festivals to celebrate and treasure the oldest continuous living culture on Earth. And start by taking part in yarn circles.
Bibi is working with Mel Tyas link to Eat Dirt, to develop a curriculum so all 19 NSW schools that have asked to be part of the program can be.
Bibi, many thanks for inspiring us at theBEATS.org with your awesome art and the belief that we can and must continue to do more, learn more and care more.
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 theBEATS.org to continue to do more, learn more and care more.
bio- baɪ.əʊ-/ prefix bio …The combining form bio– is used as a prefix meaning ‘life’.
1. The form bio– comes from Greek bíos, meaning ‘life’. It is often used in scientific terms, especially in biology
diversity dʌɪˈvəːsɪti,dɪˈvəːsɪti/ noun
1. the state of being diverse; variety
biodiversity bʌɪə(ʊ)dʌɪˈvəːsɪti/ noun
1. the number and types of plants and animals that exist in a particular area or in the world generally
2. a high level of biodiversity is usually considered important and desirable.
1. the part of the earth’s environment where life exists
We can survive as a species only if we live by the rules of the biosphere. Biodiversity is one of those rules.
Our biodiversity provides the life supporting systems that enable all organisms, including humans, to survive. Our wetlands purify water and help prevent flooding and drought. Indigenous forests provide carbon sinks and purify the air we breathe as well as providing recreation and amenity values.
Biodiversity is essential for the processes that support all life on Earth, including humans. Without a wide range of animals, plants and microorganisms, we cannot have the healthy ecosystems that we rely on to provide us with the air we breathe and the food we eat. And people also value nature of itself.
There are lots of ways that humans depend upon biodiversity. It is vital for us to conserve it. Pollinators such as birds, bees and other insects are estimated to be responsible for a third of the world’s crop production. Without pollinators we would not have apples, cherries, blueberries, almonds and many other foods we eat. Agriculture also relies on invertebrates – they help to maintain the health of the soil crops grow in. Soil is teeming with microbes that are vital for liberating nutrients that plants need to grow, which are then also passed to us when we eat them. Life from the oceans provides the main source of animal protein for many people.
A Sense of Humus – Educating, Celebrating and Advocating
A podcast with Regenerative Farmers and Educators – Kate Spry and Charlotte Drinnan
Celia Cavanagh gives us a quick SOIL 101 as she sets up the podcast conversation with two courageous women – both traditional turned regenerative farmers and both educators. And both passionate about soil.
Soil – What is it? How have we cultivated it? And how we’ve used and abused it, releasing its rich organic carbon content into the atmosphere to add to emissions.
Kate Spry and Charlotte Drinnan tell us how they are recapturing that carbon. How to do so to regenerate our depleted soils. And how they are doing it in practice on their land. And in sharing their stories how they are changing the curriculum (The Soil Story) to teach ag students and other farmers about it.
The Outcome: Transforming farming into a practice and sharing it as a science that once again supports the soil to act as a superb carbon sink. In this way they are regenerating their own properties from bare dust and dirt or weed infestations to richer paddocks with diverse plants, teeming in bird life.
As they help protect the planet and grow crops – much to our surprise – with livestock that actually helps the soil get rich again.
As Educators Kate was inspired by The Soil Story – Discovering it back in 2015 she knows that healthy soils foster healthy humans. Inspired by the Soil Story Kate developed an Australian module of Kiss the Ground. It took courage – she went to her supervisor when teaching in her town of Tamworth NSW back in 2016/7 and said she couldn’t teach the existing curriculum – that we would save the planet by getting rid of all livestock. She knew she would be teaching a lie.
Kate was given permission to ‘teach what she knew’ and she did. She captured what she was doing – building on the shoulders of some phenomenal Australians before her including Charles Massy and Bruce Pascoe and others – and turned her course into a curriculum. She was supported to launch it in February 2018 see link. It subsequently spread like a virus – picked up by 50 schools in the first few weeks. The curriculum is now online and accessed internationally!
Think: Feel: Do: Kate Spry wants us to: • Think: Regeneratively, not sustainably, maintaining the status quo but rejuvenating and rehabilitating to the land. ‘It’s not too late!’ • Feel: Get out into the soil and feel it.
o Is it compacted? Is it friable? What’s happening to it? Start analysing it. • Do: Get amongst it and get into it. Start growing some veggies.
Influenced by Kate’s work, Charlotte, teaches both music and regenerative agriculture at Greater Shepparton Secondary College in Shepparton, Victoria – a very large secondary college with 2300 students. Kate is a connector. Hailing from a Tasmanian sheep farm, she and her husband now farm near Shepparton. At the same time, she links farming families across Australia with others – nationally and internationally. During lockdown last year she linked her 15-17-year-old students with a farming family in Montana USA. This triggered parents to be in touch to learn more.
Describing herself as a facilitator, this year Charlotte is now also teaching year 11 students agriculture and horticulture in a way to inspire the inquiring mind – to ask What if? How can I be healthier? And create a practical approach to a Living Earth.
Think: Feel: Do: Charlotte Drinnan wants us to:
• Think: How regenerative agriculture can help us reverse climate change and get rid of the legacy load in our atmosphere. “Done the right way it can do that!” • Feel: I feel hopeful that farmers will continue to be curious and open themselves up to the education and research available to them in their communities.
o In this way they can change their practices so together we can continue to assist getting carbon back down into the soil where it belongs. • Do: I am going to continue my journey on the farm. I am going to continue educating young people.
o I will do more in my community. I have just completed a ‘Farmers for Climate Action Leadership’ course.
o Listeners in the city areas can support regenerative farmers by buying their produce either directly from the regenerative farmer’s website, the Facebook page or existing outlets.
Kate and Charlotte thank you for inspiring us at theBEATS.org – to also continue to do more, to learn more and where we can to inspire us all to be more.