Fire-ravaged school gets the best garden on The Block
A garden of giving grows out of disaster.
18 February 2020
Mogo Public School students and staff received a morale boost when the Today Show and The Block rebuilt the school gardens, lost during bushfires which ravaged the town on New Year's Eve.
Acting principal Lyndall Schuchmann said the rebuilding of the gardens and chicken coop was a great community effort, bringing everyone together after a tough couple of months on the south coast.
'The children have been so excited and it's been wonderful how the whole community has come together to work on creating this great space,' she said.
'The students have been involved the whole way. They understand and appreciate that all of this is about people who are trying to do something good and make their lives better.'
Ms Schuchmann said many parents, grandparents, community members and local businesses had helped Tess and Luke Stuber (the most recent Block winners) and Block landscaper Dave Franklin to complete the garden.
It was unveiled on air during the Today Show last week.
'It was lovely having so many people come in and help and understand the philosophy of this garden, which is all about giving back, Ms Schuchmann said.
'We feel so fortunate to have so many people that wanted to help us and we felt it was important that this garden is all about giving - giving edible plants for animals to Mogo Zoo, giving to the school canteen, and giving produce to the students and their families.'
Tess and Luke spent time in each classroom over the week, talking to the students about what was going on in the garden and challenging each class group to choose names for the new school chickens.
'We saw on the news how devastating the fires were and we really wanted to be able to get involved and to do something positive, so as soon as we were asked we said yes straight away,' said Tess.
'Everyone we have spoken to has a story of dealing with the fires and some are so devastating, and yet everyone has a smile on their face and is happy to donate their time, and local businesses are happy to donate materials to make this happen.'
Luke added that it was the very least he and Tess could do to lend a hand to build the garden.
'It's an amazing thing about the Aussie spirit and how people are here, some of whom have lost so much, already thinking about how they are going to give back through this garden,' Luke said.
'We just want to make the kids smile.'
Tess and Luke said with the help of the students they had settled on seven names for the new chickens: Tess, Lou Lou, Sparkles, Peggy, Bianca, Bella and Big Mumma.
'We feel very honoured that they named a couple after us, it was very sweet,' Luke said, adding that he hoped they would live a long and healthy life in their new coop.
Year 4 student Skye Nye said she enjoyed having Tess and Luke at the school during the week.
'It's like we're famous now too,' Skye said after being filmed and photographed with the celebrities.
'We're excited and I really like the garden and going out there.'
The fully landscaped garden area includes a fruit orchard, vegetable and herb gardens, a lawn area for the students to play, seating areas for informal classes, a new chicken coop, and an indigenous bush tucker garden developed in conjunction with the school's Aboriginal Education Officer, Kizzy Nye, and local rangers.