HIGH SCHOOL GEOGRAPHY ON THE ROAD TRIP 2016

 

WHAT AN EPIC ADVENTURE!  A 3000km round trip to some of the most iconic NSW environments. One of the exercises we did in each place was to observe, draw and write about place, then to draw a life lesson from it. The idea was to connect each landscape with our inner soulscape…..below are some life lessons from the students:

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….to be like rocks that can get smashed by waves and still stand strong…. Imi

…to be like the old tree and shelter what is smaller and more vulnerable…..Nissa B

….nature provides….Jasmine

…even the moss on the tree root provides shelter and plays a vital role in the cycle of life…..Ella

….if you want to create something amazing, patience is a virtue….Sofia

….the trees stand tall creating shadows to protect creatures below from the burning sun….Oliver

…sometimes it seems someone is blocking your path but if you find a different perspective you may find they are helping or just doing what they need to do….Nissa S

…you have to look past the surface to find true beauty…Kai

…tide in, tide out; good days and bad but don’t give up…..Luca

…out of destruction comes construction; the eruption of the volcano created this special place….Oscar

…these places are special, look after them….Olivia

…don’t let others control you, be who you are and do what you feel is right….Tara L

…people should work together and not only look after themselves…..Amanda

…cooperate with each other; coldness of water and warm of rock….difference can be a bigger attraction than similarity….Belle

….be like the upright tree rather than the vine that is always in need of support….Tara M

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AND FROM ME,  reflections on each person through the lens of one of the landscapes visited….

Oliver….Riverina wetlands, quiet waters, shady river gums, haven for waterbirds and playful wrens, as well as the lessons in resilience of flood and drought.

Sofia….Water falls into deep mountain crystal clear pool. Sculpted stone is sunwarmed and inviting.

Olivia…Everywhere you go, invisible breath of life becomes audible as birdsong, pound of wave, rustle of leaves and cool caress to the cheek on a hot afternoon.

Amanda…..Light footed dance of sunlight across waves. Spark and fire meet cool deep ocean.

Oscar…Sunset boy, paints a new scene at evening of the gatherings and gleanings from the observations and reflections  of the day.

Tara L….sun warmed and salted ocean pool, safe harbour for the host of tiny, tidal sea creatures.

Tara M….Lagoon life, the slow flow of luxuriantly lulling tidal journeys, drift and dream…

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Kai…eyes of night, campfire constellations, telling stories of the deeds of the brave hearted.

Belle….sun filled tree lined mountain valley. Cascading stream trips, twists and tumbles. Every boulder a chance to leap into sunlight.

Nissa B…spare low blue smoke bush, protection from beating sun. Lift your eye to luminous shimmer along distant dunes of an ancient world.

Imi….Sunrise, eye of day, magical painter of landscapes; paints your day rich and wonderful, or spare and uncomfortable. Rises in wonder to the challenges of both.

Nissa S…Pick you up wild ocean; kiss you, tumble you, smooth and soothe you. Moods of the sea for the savouring.

Jasmine….Sacred place, shore to the mother mountain. Waves lip lap over and around the boulders, connecting mother land to sister sea.

Luca…Wide blue sky as far as the eye can see; light filled observer of life, warms the land and sends the odd clearing shower to get the life flowing again.

Ella…Rainforest, beneath the towering emergent, layers of sheltering canopies. Tall, twisting, tiny, strength and delicacy, critters that bite and medicine for tea. Everything connected.

Journeyman Dan…what connects it all? Senses honed by experience. Sense of wonder, sense of adventure, sense of fun, sense to travel safely, and sense to take the time to be nourished along the way.

 

Cheers everyone, Lynn

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Kindlehill Whole School Camp

  EUROKA

How can a few lines capture the beauty of what was happening in this place? Wednesday to Thursday, the whole school camped at Euroka clearing. Some of us even saw the Gurrangatch.  What an amazing camp this was – Chris Tobin took us through the great wisdom  and relevance of Aboriginal culture for all Australians, Leanne Tobin led us in indigenous games, Peter Williams and the Waradah Dancers had us all on our feet dancing Emu and Kangaroo, Katy Squires showed us a sweet weaving technique and Wayne Cornish told a story about the black swan that has meanings on many levels for young and older.

On my way to camp, I was aware of what was unfolding in Brussels.  A strange feeling heading to sunshine, good company, rich learning and beauty – knowing it is not the experience of so many in the world. Yet once there, I realized again,  there is a solidarity in the awareness itself, and there is the also the contribution – being part of shaping this community as inclusive, fair, generous and compassionate.  It is not the whole solution but it is a SEED and there is power and nourishment in that !

A massive THANK YOU to all who contributed to this camp. It was a big     undertaking. Preparation, transport,    support at the camp, pack away and clean up, as well as the many  activities on the days that were so enjoyable for the     children and all that participated.  Toward the end, as the busloads of children drove away, you could feel nature moving in again to reclaim the space where we had been so active….Kindlehill is a tiny part of the story of that place now… Thank you to country, generous host.

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KANGAROO VALLEY – HIGH SCHOOL RIVER TRIP 2016

 

MARCH 2016

 

Canoeing down the Kangaroo River in warm, late summer, sounds idyllic. Yet beneath the tranquil scene captured in a photographic moment, there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. 26km of perseverance in paddling, in shared canoes with gear, that requires cooperation and on the job skill development in steering and finding a rhythm.                                                                            Setting up camp –     looking after self, your “team” and the group as a whole in low impact self sufficient camping

Everyone had challenges to meet. Just being immersed in a natural environment, without familiar home comforts, can feel like a fish out of water. The perseverance factor was big, the   keeping on going when you think you can’t. Then there was the courage jump, rock to river. And the getting along with 20 others who don’t necessarily think and act the way you do!

 

These out of classroom experiences test us; they support us to     develop independence and tolerance in real situations. The ‘nature’ time nourishes us and at the minimum sets up a respectful          relationship to the environment which hopefully deepens into a love and sense of responsibility to co-operate rather than exploit.

Return now to the tranquil picture. Early morning, mist rising on the river, canoes gliding and a call/response Aboriginal river song (learned in the singing group) greeting the river and the bushland either side……Beautiful!

 

An exhausted but deeply satisfied, Lynn

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High School Kangaroo Valley Camp

High School Kangaroo Valley Camp

Kindlehill High school trip to North West Island, Great Barrier Reef

ISLAND STORY

High school trip to North West Island, Great Barrier Reef

November 2015

Waves have eloquence. They bring to shore the stories of faraway lands and depths of ocean. They are whisperers of news while they wash the shore. The tide brings tidings to this island, 75 kilometres from her mainland neighbours though only a turtle swim to nearby masthead.

You might think, being an island in the midst of big seas that it would be a quiet existence but days are bustling with the come and go of noddies, pairing and nest building, raising their chicks. And under the pearly light of moon, the shearwaters nourish their young, calling comfort to each other in ethereal cries. And turtles heave themselves shoreward, sighing heavily with the labour of digging a safe haven in which to leave their eggs.

Then there are the visitors to the island.  Firstly Ella, graceful and slender as the beach Casuarina. She is the ARTIST, painting the ever changing dance of light on the water. She turns a walk into a work of art and wearing a dress into an occasion.

Then there is Bella, the ADVENTURER, whether setting off solely around the island at sunrise or in writing a pithy song. There is a love of life in Bella and a craving for experience to match the boldest pirate of long ago.

Sashka is the NURTURER and CELEBRATOR of life.  Gentle, generous soul. The footprints she leaves on this island will linger, a memory of one who came and opened her mind and heart.

Olive is the POET, navigator of rich inner worlds. She invites her companions to ride with her the highs and lows of her island “wuthering”. Watch out! I have heard her cackle in the moonlight!

Gali is the PROBLEM SOLVER. Every group needs one. He is the human version of the swiss army knife. His mind is the gadget for every tricky situation, physical and emotional. He builds friendship bridges and when they are tested by storms he builds then again.

Oscar is the COMMEDIAN. Spontaneous, playful and always sharpening his wit on the funny side of life. Like any comedian  worth his salt! He is a little bit wise beneath the waves of humour. ….So  is that what it means to be a “wise crack”?

Lem is the SHAMAN. He names what he sees going on, not always tactfully. Charming, unpredictable and sometimes a little scary, he demands respect. And he is the one you go to when there is serious heavy lifting to be done.

Willow is the DEVOTEE of life. She is the amazed, wonder filled exclaimer of life. “OH MY LORD!” she says. She is also braveheart – facing her fears and standing up adamantly for herself.

And  then there is Dan, the MAGICIAN. Player of cards and man of tricks, revealer of nature’s treasures and dissolver of boundaries. Man of many guises, man with Frisbee, man with a sea star in his hand, man with the child alive in his whole being.

Then there is me, pull and tug like a tide, insistent as a sunrise, believer in mermaids, sharing the wisdom from the book of nature, lifting the veil on that which is beholden in the heart’s eye.

The island has been generous host to us all. We guests leave her table, appetites sated. We have experienced her boundless beauty and the rich intricacy of life on the reef. We are in deep gratitude for her existence. We leave the island with a clearer understanding amongst each other, 8 days on an island has its challenges; from the isolation, minimalist camping, facing fears, to the social cohesion of the group.

As for me, the island has become a friend to call up when I need some nourishing. I’m leaving her my number, one day she may have need of it and I will without hesitation, be there for her.

Lynn

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High School North West Island Camp 2015

HIGH SCHOOL TRIP
High school have returned from their class trip to North West Island on the Great Barrier Reef where they did an ecology/geography lesson in situ, as well developing skills and stamina in minimalist impact camping, and snorkeling. The big idea behind the lesson was looking at the island/reef environment through the lens of COOPERATION and seeing how that is reflected in our personal and social lives as well. We saw the beauty and intricacy of coral as habitat for diverse species and had close encounters with Shovel Nose Rays, Stingrays and Reef Sharks! On the way up, we met farmers who are fighting to keep farmland for food against powerful mining interests and an Aboriginal man, Wayne, gave us heartfelt insights into his connection to country and filled our water bottles with pure waters from his artesian bore. We were on the island for the start of the Paris Climate Talks and took the opportunity to be a part of the conversation that is being had in regard to Climate justice. Students returned with a swag of stories and experiences, a little more independence and confidence in meeting challenges, and a little more connected to “country”.

High School Camp

High School Camp

GEOGRAPHY ON THE ROAD

There is no substitute for experience!  In term 4 last year, High school covered 3000km in two weeks, exploring the diverse regions of NSW. We explored the coastal region of Durras to Eden, the South East Forest National Park, Kosciuszko National Park, the Hay plains, the desert at Lake Mungo and the fossil – mine trail Canowindra/Orange.

We sketched, wrote, swam, bounded, climbed, walked, sang, gave presentations, met with locals and pondered the life lessons each of these unique environments could bring us… we experienced the treasures of hidden wonderlands, the power of surging ocean, the sweet secrets of mountain cascades, the extraordinary cooperation of rainforest, the tenacity of desert and the eureka moment of prospecting for the gold of friendship and camaraderie at  Ophir.

Every journey had its feats and accomplishments, its wonders and challenges. The sharp observations and deep reflections of the students, captured in their daily journaling, revealed empathy, connectedness and hence care for each of these wild and unique environments. Yes there were bumps and pointy edges but there was also honesty, openness, kindness and generosity.

These students are all genuine travelers now. In the words of KaIindra, they were able to separate from “the herd” for a time to consider themselves in the context of the greater, complex and wonder filled world that we are all a part of.  We climbed mountains, walked the plains, swam rivers and descended into caves, we went back in geological time and projected our thoughts into the future. These are deeply ethical young people. Their optimism and zest for life, is like the morning song of birds that continually encircles our earth. You can’t do all of this in the class room.  But you can do it in two weeks on the road!

Lynn

 

“Fears are our boundaries, but fears are not our limits”.  Olive

 

“Everyone knows how our journey ends, but we determine our path.”  Dylan

 

AURELIA

Walks on the wildside

Her totem is wolf

Waves tumble and crush her –

She comes up laughing

Eager for more.

 

BELLA

Crack open the thunder

egg of Bella

And she sparkles like cut quartz –

Light dances off

Clean, facetted edges.

You can’t put it back again!

 

LACHLAN

A lofty soul

But as down to earth

As a bloke can be –

Silver and gold!

 

SASHKA

Some folk are poetry in motion

Silver tongued syllables

Make rough roads smooth

And unexpected twists and turns

Into gift wrapped surprises.

 

LEM

The word is his sword

and his shield.

He wields both in a tournament

Of changing characters

Rolled out for the mirth of his friends –

Foes retreat, friends advance

When the songman charms…

 

OLIVE

Who else can la la the complete canon

Of Pacobel, and wax lyrical on Picasso

While she deftly draws

the iconic lace monitor – Aboriginal style;

to make a postcard for an asylum seeker

in detention.

 

GALI

Sharp as a tack

With a fair dose of wit,

A swample of courage

And a handshake you can bet

He’ll honour for the rest of his life.

 

 

OSCAR

He’s dry as a drought

And yet quenches thirst!

His funny ways will lend you

The stitches you need to put your life

Back together – seamlessly!

 

ELLA

Draws her friends around her

Like a cloak of finely spun silk

With the slightest gesture, she sends them

Shimmering and swirling around her,

Like ocean froth

 

DYLAN

Strike a light! And there

Goes Dylan – striding, direct,

Observant, throwing light around

Like there is no tomorrow

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Perisher Ski Trip – Class 6/7

Class 6 and 7 just got back from an adventure in the snow fields around Smiggins and Perisher. Everyone had lessons each day and then spent the rest of the day on the lifts and slopes.

 

Smiggins 2015

Smiggins 2015

Thursday was a beautiful blizzard.

Snowing at Perisher

Snowing at Perisher

 

After a week at Perisher they then headed off to Canberra where they spent the day looking at the sights.

Australian National Art Gallery 2015

Australian National Art Gallery 2015

They headed off to the National Art Gallery of Australia and Parliament House.

Camp to Bungonia; more than just canyoning March 2015

At first you see trees, grasses, a kangaroo, nice views across the canyons ….your eyes adjusting to take in the beauty of nature. Then you clamber over boulders, slip into a cave, thread your way along a creek, sit amongst the trees ….. and that’s when you see the uniqueness of habitat in this place, the things that live here and nowhere else in Australia and the world! Your heart begins to take in the amazing community of beings that call this place home. Respect and gratitude rise up in you.

Canyoning skills

Canyoning skills

Then there is adventure. Going inside the mountain on a narrow descent into deep, dark cave, going over the mountain and abseiling down a 30metre cliff, climbing a sheer face feeling for handholds and footholds barely visible, exploring the watercourse of the canyon creek, working as a team – being responsible and responsive to each, sharing with peers the research you’ve done prior to the trip – transforming information into experience.

Abseiling - overcoming fear

Abseiling – overcoming fear

Alongside all of this, high school students were mentored in life skills by Kalindra and Ross, people who specialise in managing risk, finding courage, taking initiative, persevering, setting goals, living lightly, connecting love of what you do with what is good for the wider world….

Camp Bungonia was more than canyoning – high school students have added to their back packs, life skills, a sense of adventure and the importance of connecting to and realizing what makes your life purposeful.

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