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MEDIA RELEASE - Bushtucker inspired learning at Jaycee

24 July 2019

Sandwiches and yoghurt are being traded off the lunch menu at Jaycee Kindergarten for a selection of Gunditjmara inspired bush tucker creations.

Budj Bim Cultural Landscape Rangers, from the Winda-Mara Co-op, have assisted children to plant a selection of indigenous bush tucker plants in the kindergarten’s Koorie waterway installation.

Local varieties including Aniseed Myrtle, Ruby Saltbush, Midjim Berry, Sea Celery and Sea Parsley, among others, were thoughtfully planted by children this week which will be used to influence new recipes in the kindergarten’s early learning program.

“Sea Parsley and Paw Paw Salsa, Aniseed Myrtle Shortbread, or how about Saltbush Turkey Rissoles – sounds delicious doesn’t it? These are just some of the tasty offerings we have planned because of this wonderful new garden display,” Jaycee kindergarten teacher Jess Waite spruiked.

“Jaycee will have its own little Masterchef’s experiencing locally grown bush tucker and learning about the inspirational Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, understanding how to grow and enjoy their own food creations.”

A Landcare grant assisted the kindergarten to purchase new gardening equipment, including wheelbarrows, watering cans, children’s gardening gloves and enough funds to purchase 13 varieties of indigenous plants.

Ms Waite said three years ago the kindergarten’s educators and parent committee created the vision for the Koorie waterway, which was now inspiring the new early learning program.

“At that time our committee sourced indigenous information from local elders, with volcanic rocks donated from the Winda-Mara Aboriginal Co-op and Gundij Mirring Traditional Landowners to create the inspirational space,” she said.

“When the plans for this garden were made we again engaged local indigenous leaders to educate our kindergarten on the important role of bush tucker, and how to appropriately plant the varieties.

“It was important to the educators at Jaycee that the plants selected from Seawind Nursery would be able to be used in our educational program, allowing the children to pick, eat and experience cooking opportunities.

“We are extremely grateful for the support provided in selecting and sourcing the plants, and the lasting impact it will have on the children, learning about this important connection with country.

“Not only the children, but our broader educators and parent community are receiving great lessons on how we can use Vanilla Lilly, Rhiaodia, Sea Berry, Yam Daisy and River Mint in our own cooking creations.”

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