Student learning at Kandos High and Public Schools will be enhanced by a new garden with a focus on environmental, sustainability and cultural heritage education.

Funded by a Kepco grant to the school, Skillset Environment Land Works were engaged to design the landscape and manage the project logistics and construction of the Kandos Connective Educational Garden.

Land Works Coordinator, landscape architect and ex Kandos High student, Thomas Staff, designed the garden to be a physical barrier between the two schools that looks and acts like a connected holistic landscape. An educational walk through has twelve stops which students can engage with interactive signage via an iPad or smart phone. Each stop has a variety of information and illustration describing various content. The twelve stops educate students about: rainforest ecosystems, woodland ecosystems, grassland ecosystems, canopy cover and climate change, carbon sequestration, water saving, growing food, vegetation linkages and corridors, indigenous heritage, bioswales, water sensitive urban design, and recycling.

The gardens main features will be aesthetically pleasing, adding colour and texture to a concrete dominated landscape. Functionally the garden has several usable spaces including an indigenous yarning circle outdoor classroom, synthetic lawn with shade cloth, raised sensory garden bed, eco-shelter that functions as a study pod, stage and shaded area, and eight grass squares that students can relax on.  

Initial consultation and design was completed in November 2016. Draft designs were presented to both principals and the P&C. The final design master plan was accepted by the schools early December 2017 and site preparation/demolition was completed before Christmas.

Construction began in the second week of January 2017 and engaged local contractors and suppliers. The aim was to source local materials and resources so money was kept in the local community. The majority of construction and installation was complete by the end of January before students returned to school. Plantings were delayed until March to ensure that plants had the best chance to survive and grow.

As part of their holistic approach to the project and demonstrating their commitment to sustainable communities through both environmental and employment outcomes, Land Works employed and trained three year 11 Kandos High students to help complete the landscape preparation and garden construction. This opportunity provided the students with valuable experience and skills they can use in their future careers. They expressed their pride in helping build a wonderful garden in their school.

James Hoetink and Gianluca Della Libera are two of the Year 11 boys who were employed and trained by Land Works to help build the Kandos Connective Educational Garden

The school is planning to encourage neighbouring schools to use their educational landscapes. The school has also engaged  Skillset Environment Land Works to run two educational workshops with students to develop the content for the twelve educational signs. An opening is being planned for the end of March once signs and plants have been installed. Skillset Environment is proud to have been chosen to work on this project and thanks the schools for the opportunity to create this garden for future generations of Kandos students.