Cobram and District Specialist School community has had a busy time lately.
Teacher Lisa Oliver said the students had been active in the very successful inclusion program between Year 10 Cobram Anglican College students and the Sturt Room students, one of the two senior classes.
‘‘The program has been running between the two schools for a number of years now and is very popular and enjoyed by all the students,’’ Ms Oliver said.
‘‘Each week, during term one the groups participate in activities, led by the CAGS students, that include everyone and help with getting to know each other, their abilities and interests and having a lot of fun as a group,’’ she said.
‘‘During term two, the group is split into two smaller ones and each group participates in a three-week rotation involving Irvin House and the community gardens in Punt Rd.
‘‘When at Irvin House, students mix with the residents and participate in activities, including visiting the local library, nail painting, dancing, indoor bocce and reading.
‘‘When at the gardens, the groups have in the past just prepared their garden beds and planted them with a variety of vegetables, with maintenance throughout the rest of the year by the Sturt Room students.’’
This year, the group decided to be ambitious and complete a massive clean-up project, so that the gardens could look attractive to new user groups as they had become unattended over the past two years that this group has been at the gardens.
In a short period of about nine weeks (which was only about an hour each session), students have enthusiastically participated in the different designated tasks.
‘‘They have chopped back plants off the path, uncovered paths and stepping stones, as well as weeding and removing a very large pile of rubbish that sat there for two years,’’ Ms Oliver said.
‘‘They also covered the garden areas with mulch that has sat outside the gardens in a pile for two years and instigated the donation of a truck load of gravel to lay on the paths throughout the gardens.
‘‘We had celebrated the end of the project with a barbecue and reflected on the amazing effort that was made by the staff and students of both schools — the gardens were transformed.
‘‘In recognition of the hard work, a mandarin tree was planted in the last session and Ross Abberfield, Goulburn Murray Valley fruit fly co-ordinator, was also on site to talk to the group about fruit fly and the responsibilities of planting a citrus tree.
‘‘We know the daycare and kindergarten next door are now using the gardens and the children are calling it the magical garden which puts a smile on our faces.
‘‘We are extremely grateful to Jean from Cobram Community House for her support to this program over the years, to Peter Wright from Peter Wright Earthworks for the donation of the gravel, Cobram resident Arnie for pruning the roses and Lena at Hungie Fangs Bakery for the donation of the citrus tree.’’