Fountain Gate Primary School, VIC
Eucalyptus Eco Poetry Project, 2017
Fountain Gate Primary School has excellent facilities, resources and grounds, but most importantly it has a dedicated staff who know each child as an individual, and who strive to create conditions where they will thrive. Our students come from over 40 different nationalities, resulting in a diverse school environment that helps prepare our children for their entry into a globalised future without fear or prejudice. Our values of respect, trust and care can be seen in the relationships that exist across the school community, and in the high levels of connectedness among children, staff and parents. At Fountain Gate Primary School, children learn about the world and their place in it by being actively involved in increasingly complex learning environments as they move through the school.
The Eucalyptus Eco-Poetry Project (EEPP) is a 'branch' of New Shoots created in collaboration with Eucalypt Australia. The project invites poets and students to emotionally and creatively connect with eucalyptus through a poetic lens. By uncovering the hidden stories and secrets of the iconic green giants we often take for granted, the EEPP enriches understanding of eucalypts at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne and beyond.
On 20 October, students from Fountain Gate Primary School spent the day with Yuin poet Kirli Saunders. Kirli delivered eucalypt-inspired poetry workshops that creatively connect students with country and culture. Garden staff led students on guided tours, focusing on Eucalypts, bush tucker, and bush medicine, before poetic workshops with Kirli.
Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman with ties to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal and Biripi people. Kirli is the Manager of Poetic Learning and Aboriginal Cultural Liaison at Red Room Poetry. She was awarded ‘Worker of the Year 2017’ at the NAIDOC awards in the Illawarra/ Shoalhaven region and has been nominated for a National NAIDOC award in 2018. Kirli founded the Poetry in First Languages project. Her first children’s picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines, illustrated by Matt Ottley was selected for Bologna Book Fair and is published internationally. Her second picture book Our Dreaming will be released by Scholastic in July 2019, Happy Ever After will follow in February 2020. Kirli’s First Poetry Collection, Kindred is to be released by Magabala in 2019, it was Highly Commended in the 2018 Black&Write! prize. Kirli’s poem ‘A Dance of Hands’ was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize. Kirli’s poetry has been published by Cordite and Overland and has embedded in infrastructure at Darling Harbour and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne. In 2018, Kirli will be Writer in Residence at Bundanon Trust, Q Station and The Literature Centre, Fremantle for ‘The Sound of Picture Books’.