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Renovation rescue - Goolma Public horse paddock

The Horse Paddock at Goolma Public School is getting a revegetation renovation rescue courtesy of a Landcare grant facilitated by Central Tablelands Local Land Services through Catchment Action funding from the NSW Government.

Back in the days when it was not unusual for kids to ride to school on horseback, the Horse Paddock was an essential piece of infrastructure where students could park their ponies until the school day was done.

However with equine transport no longer required, the one hectare paddock is being remodelled and rejuvenated into a beautiful bush learning space ideal for lessons in science and the environment and many other curriculum areas.

According to Goolma Public Principal, Kate Charlton, the paddock had suffered from many years of trampling and overgrazing, and while larger eucalypts, including yellow, fuzzy and western grey box trees, and some native grasses and broadleaf herbs are still intact, unfortunately the shrub layer has disappeared.

Those understorey plants will now be returned to the landscape through the Goolma Public Landcare Project and the hard work of students and community volunteers.

“The plan is to revegetate our Horse Paddock with native shrub species including Allocasuarina, Acacia, Dillwynia, Hovea and others. The area already has several lily and orchid species, such as chocolate and bulbine lilies, and the plan is to increase diversity with plantings of Stypandra, Dianella, and Astroloma, enriching the habitat for small birds, lizards, frogs and butterflies,” said Kate Charlton.

“The school grounds are visited by many native birds, reptiles and insects, and by restoring and enhancing their natural habitat we hope to attract an even wider range of these species.”

Bird watching with a skilled staff member is also a popular and regular activity at the school, and the birds will soon benefit from the installation of three new bird bath water sources, fed by a solar powered pump.

The workforce for the project will consist of Goolma Public’s nine students and five staff, along with four local families and added assistance from the Goolma Landcare group.

The project will be monitored by students using ipads to record changes in the landscape, along with counts of bird, insect, frogs, and lizard species to be published on the school web site.

“This is a whole school project to promote the value of sustainability and bio diversity. It’s also a wonderful way to connect the children to the natural environment with all the benefits of resilience and sense of place that can create.”

“We have a commitment to return the entire school grounds to species native to this area, and this latest Landcare Grant will help us make great progress.”

For more information about how Central Tablelands Local Land Services can assist with local Landcare projects contact Land Services Officer, Julie Reynolds, on 02 6378 1706.

Media enquiries: Kylie Krause | 0439608370