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. She currently resides on Dharawal Country. Kirli is an international children’s author, poet and emerging playwright. She manages Poetry in First Languages and Poetic Learning at Red Room Poetry. Her picture books include CBCA nominated and internationally published, The Incredible Freedom Machines (Scholastic) and forthcoming, Our Dreaming and Happy Every After (Scholastic) and Afloat (Hardie Grant). Her poetry Collection, Kindred was Highly Commended in Black&Write 2018. She was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize 2018. Her poetry has been published by a number of journals (Cordite, Overland, Planthunter) and commissioned for public art. She is co-writing her first play, Dead Horse Gap.
In 2019, you can find Kirli at NT Writers Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, Sydney Writers Festival, Enough Said and Word in Hand. She returns as writer in residence at The Literature Centre, Fremantle this year where she will perform The Incredible Freedom Machines with Matt Ottley and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra in rural WA, at Coco’s Island and Christmas Island.