News From the Field Studies Centre | Community Service Projects

News From the Field Studies Centre | Community Service Projects

Throughout the previous few years at the FSC we have had the boys perform many informal Community Service activities such as beach clean ups, bush regeneration, general service projects such as building a chicken coop and vegetable garden, as well as continual rubbish clean ups as we moved through the bush.

Service is an integral part of the FSC programme with the service ethos being instilled in the boys from day 1. The FSC is of itself a community and the boys form community ties through service in the daily jobs that need to occur at the FSC and out in the field. From keeping the different areas at the Centre clean, dining hall servery, scullery, clean up, taking care of the chickens, through to numerous ‘emu bobs’ that occur throughout the day to ensure we leave no trace in the bush, the boys contribute and build their FSC community through the service they perform. Service also occurs between groups with many FSC groups coming in late from expedition to find another group having already cleaned their gear and tents and packed them away for them. This is nearly always reciprocated throughout the programme as the boys remember and acknowledge service actions that helped them out in the past, so the ‘pay it forward’ service actions increase and become part of the fabric of FSC life.

With all of the service activities that occur informally at the FSC, it was decided toward the end of 2022 to have a formalised Community Service Project for the students to take ownership over and participate in. At the end of the 2022 Trinity Grammar School Field Studies Centre formed a Landcare project partnership with Shoalhaven City Council and local Bushcare groups and took on the responsibility to clean up Violet Clarke Reserve in Vincentia. For the past 3 terms the Trinity FSC students have worked alongside Ron and Adam from the Shoalhaven City Council Landcare department. Both Ron and Adam are proud local indigenous Jerrinja men, who have a passion for country and imparting the knowledge they have to the next generation.

Ron always starts the Community Service activities by welcoming the Trinity FSC boys onto the land they are on and then they, as Ron puts it, get ‘stuck in’ to firstly learning about the land they are on, then learning about the different native plant species in the area and then pulling out weeds and cleaning up the area to allow the native plants and animals to thrive. Through Ron and Adam’s tutelage and the hard work involved in cleaning up an area, the boys have achieved in 3 terms what we anticipated would take 6.

We are now onto a new project just 5 minutes down the road in Woollamia township, right next to Currambene Creek which is the same creek the boys paddle on and flows past the FSC. This was not lost on the boys with many making comments that this is where they paddle, and it was as though they instinctively had their own connection to country in this realisation and saw this Community Service area as their area to take custodianship of. The connection the boys form within the FSC community and then into the broader community through activities such as the Community Service Project is an integral part of the boys’ development in mind, body and spirit and one in which all of our communities, both large and small, will benefit from in the future.

Mr Wayne Pitts | Outdoor Education Co-Ordinator

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