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One drop at a time

​Bean there… done that. Julatten State School is one of a dozen state schools benefiting from donated irrigation kits

It may be considered an annoyance for many experiencing a leaky tap, but the modest drip is proving to be a watershed for 12 schools in Far North Queensland.

A dozen irrigation kits have been donated to schools in remote areas, where gardening and water shortages are a perennial challenge.

The kits are not only addressing serious water issues, but enabling various learning opportunities, and the creation of edible gardens.

Northern Peninsula Area State College Principal Leanne Fox said the kits have provided numerous benefits to their school.

'At our Injinoo Campus it has enabled us to develop small garden beds as part of the maths and science curriculum,' Ms Fox said.

'Students are starting to undertake scientific surveys about what grows best in the hot dry climate that is the dry season.'

Julatten State School Principal Russell Barlow agreed with the potential educational opportunities.

'With the arrival of the irrigation kit, students at Julatten State School have been able to apply and develop their skills across the interdisciplinary areas of STEM,' Russell said.

'Students worked with their teachers putting together the irrigation system as part of the school’s garden to kitchen program. Students devised and then implemented the placement of the system inside the garden beds for hydration of plants in order to develop maximum plant growth.'

The introduction of the kits has entailed a team effort by many in the school communities.

At Tagai State College’s Poruma Ngurpay Lag, head of campus Tim McKee said students in the Year 4-6 class prepared the garden plot, planted tomatoes and watermelons, with rangers Des and Freddie David assisting with the irrigation system set-up.

Tim said at key times throughout the year there were strict water restrictions. The introduction of drip irrigation, he said, successfully addressed this challenge.

The fruits of the irrigation system’s labour were, literally, reaping a bounty of fruit and vegies such as tomatoes, watermelons, finger limes, corn, beans, peas and strawberries, as well as minchinberri, lilly pilly and various specimens that attracted and fed bees, butterflies and other insects.

These gardens will not only yield an abundance of edible crops, but will provide a greater appreciation of farming techniques and the preciousness of water and how best to use it.

'With their teachers, they have deepened their understanding of the valuable commodity of water and its importance to our agricultural industry in the Far North,' Russell said. 'They have especially developed an understanding of the conservation of water usage, especially in this time of drought across our nation.'

The irrigation kits were donated by Netafim.

Schools that received kits were:

  • Coen Campus—Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy
  • Julatten State School
  • Kowanyama State School
  • Mossman State School
  • Mossman State High School
  • Bamaga Junior Campus—Northern Peninsula Area State School
  • Injinoo Junior Campus—Northern Peninsula Area State School
  • Boigu Island—Malu Kiyay Ngurpay Lag—Tagai State College
  • Coconut Island—Poruma Ngurpay Lag—Tagai State College
  • Saibai Island—Kadhego Ngurpay Lag—Tagai State College
  • Yam Island—Iama Ngurpay Lag—Tagai State College
  • Stephen Island—Ugar Eruer Uteb—Tagai State College
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Last updated
28 January 2020