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Farmhouse Montessori students plant native trees to help grow North Head Sanctuary’s bushland

The Harbour Trust is proud to share that students from North Head Sanctuary’s independent school, Farmhouse Montessori, recently planted native species to help grow North Head Sanctuary’s bushland.

On Thursday 15 September, Farmhouse Montessori students walked to North Head Sanctuary oval to spend time in nature and help enhance the habitat of their local flora and fauna.

“As educators, it's crucial to understand that the outdoor environment is an extension of the indoor classroom because nature provides endless opportunities for experiential learning. Following a Montessori philosophy, we emphasise immersion in nature to assist the development of the whole child. Spending time in nature promotes every child's physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. We are incredibly thankful to be situated within the North Head Sanctuary, participate in such learning experiences, and give the curriculum greater context to the children,” Toby Marshall from Farmhouse Montessori said.

North Head Sanctuary Foundation Nursery, with the help of Harbour Trust staff, helped organise a mix of 50 native tubestock plants for the students to plant. The native species included trees (Wallum Banksia - Banksia aemula and Blueberry Ash – Elaeocarpus reticulatus), shrubs and scramblers (Eggs and Bacon - Dillwynia retorta, Blue Dampiera - Dampiera stricta, Variable Bossiaea - Bossiaea heterophylla, Wedge Guinea Flower - Hibbertia diffusa, Variable Guinea flower - Hibbertia linearis, and Rusty Velvet Bush - Lasiopetalum ferrugineum). These plants grow naturally at North Head Sanctuary and are part of the remnant bushland classified as Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS) that evolved in leached white aeolian (wind-blown) elevated coastal sand deposits dating back 70,000 years. This plant community has been listed by the Commonwealth and NSW Government as a ‘Critically Endangered Ecological Community’ as it now occupies only less than 3% of its former extent.

“North Head Sanctuary contains the largest and best-conserved remnant of the ESBS. The seed and cuttings from the plants are collected from the local area to ensure genetic integrity and biological diversity of North Head is conserved,” Peter Jensen, Harbour Trust Environmental Officer, said.

The planting on the oval will help enhance the habitat for the large and diverse variety of flora and fauna that occur there, including Long-nosed Bandicoots, Eastern Pygmy Possums, Echidnas, and many native bird and insect species. Plant protection guards have been installed to protect the plants from rabbits, possums, brush turkeys etc. until they become established.

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