Category Archives: Keen to be Green

Environmental Scientists

The GAP children had an amazing time learning about water, with our resident environmental expert, Paul Doyle.

We wondered, what lives in the rivers? Ducks, fish, platypus, swans, water fowl, yabbies….

What do those animals eat? Small water bugs, small fish, fish eggs, snails, zooplankton, insects…

What else gets into the water and how does it get there? Rubbish sometimes gets washed into the rivers by the rain and through drains.

Paul very kindly brought in some of his scientific equipment and interesting water samples for us to look at. It was fascinating.

We also made platypus puppets from paper bags, and talked about how we can keep our environment clean so that animals like platypus can live in clean water. In fact, we all need clean water to live.

Field Biologists at work

In the past weeks, the GAP children have been talking about sciences like biology, chemistry and geophysics, and performing fun experiments in class. The children are always keen to explore outdoors, so….

We ventured out into the field as biologists searching for animals. And guess what? We found some never discovered before! With the discovery of a new species, comes the prestigious naming rights in Latin, of course.

The photo featured above is Igelus Nicki. Meet some of our other newly discovered geo-flora-fauna below!

Mausus Stock
Hausschuhus Lickibum (don’t ask. It’s Latin)
Fussabdruckus Glitzerbombe
Schlangus Bente

Rainbow Pizza

The Monday-Tuesday GAP class thoroughly enjoyed learning about colours and vegetables, with Lisa-Marie’s innovative lesson about making a rainbow pizza. We did this in small groups so that everyone had an opportunity to participate.

First we made our own pizza dough and rolled it out
Next we put the tomato sauce on
Next comes a variety of toppings
We were so pleased with ourselves when we managed to make a rainbow on our pizza!

Making our own vegetarian pizza was fun and healthy, and it meant less packaging was wasted and it was more environmentally friendly.

Another sustainability award from ACTSmart

We were suprised and delighted to be acknowledged once again at the ACTSmart Sustainability Award ceremony this year.

Last year, we won the Energy and Water Star award, and this year we received “highly commended” for the Small Business award, presented by ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability,  Shane Rattenbury.

Spielwelt has  made over 50 green changes to its operations, including installing LED lighting, triple-glazed windows, energy efficient reverse cycle heating with shut-off timers, solar space heating and instant hot water; we have draught sealed the doors and curtained off areas we don’t need to heat. This has reduced electricity consumption and continues to save us $1100 per year and 4 tonnes of CO2.  Our families’ use of single use soft-plastics has greatly reduced as our GAP and Pfadfinder children have their own bees wax food wraps.  Our Pfadfinder scouts have taken their green lessons to heart and now regularly include green practices in their activities.

You can read about our many other changes in our Keen to Be Green posts, and read about the awards on the ACTSmart awards page.

Further education for our children on environmentally responsible practices is planned for this year, and thanks to ACT Smart funding assistance and their expert guidance navigating the world of solar quotes….

SOLAR PV PANELS are coming to Turner Scout Hall!  Watch our roof!

 

 

ACTSmart Sustainability Award Winner

Handmade Teddies

One of our beautiful mums hand-crafted these adorable teddies for us.  They are the perfect size for each child to take one to snuggle at rest time.

As we are keen to be green, we noted with great delight that the teddies were lovingly created from re-purposed colourful woollen gloves.

The children and teddies joyfully showing a big “Danke” (thanks)

Arboretum Excursion Nov 2018

The Monday/Tuesday GAP class enjoyed a wonderful excursion to the Arboretum recently.  We just love to learn about nature and spend time appreciating it.

We started our day by exploring the amazing Acorn Playground, and what an incredible playground it is.  There are sounds, sights and a wide variety of sensory experiences to be had on the play equipment, both on the ground and high up in the air.

After morning tea on the deck, overlooking sweeping views of Canberra below, we were joined by our positively amazing guide Heather, who we all love to bits.

Heather showed us lots of things and told us lots of stories about the plants, birds and animals at the arboretum.  At one point, we stopped under a tree where we could see a bird’s nest and hear little birds twittering and see them flitting about.  We learned that these clever little “butter bum birds” (yellow-rumped thornbills; not to be confused with the North American “butter butt bird”, which is a yellow-rumped warbler) hide their nests underneath decoy nests in order to protect their young from cuckoos and  predators.

After Heather shared her favourite garden fairy story book with us, we were allowed to examine the national bonsai collection and choose where we might live if we were tiny forest dwellers.

The excursion was wonderful and we learned a lot.  Our return journey to the GAP included a ride on an ACTION bus and then a walk, and was an adventure in itself.  We all enjoyed our lunch back at the GAP, sharing stories of our adventures.

Patrol Cooking Challenge (the woke edition)

In internet-savvy teen parlance,  “woke” means environmentally / socially / politically / ethically aware and responsible.

The Pfadfinder Monday scouts (12-14 year olds) enjoyed another patrol cooking night.  This “woke” edition of the cooking challenge was developed by one of our scouts, and was a whole lot of fun. (Other scout groups wanting to run this activity should contact us for the rules – they are available in English and German!)

We met at the local shops and each patrol was given a budget of $30, with which they had to feed their entire patrol and the two judges (two lucky (or brave) leaders) …. with a THREE course meal!

Extra points were awarded for effort in their presentation

Patrols’ dishes were judged on taste, how complex the dish was, how healthy the dish was, and how sustainable the ingredients were.

In the sustainability category judges were looking for ingredients with minimal packaging, recyclable packaging, best animal welfare, lowest food miles, least amount of water / resources to produce, and so on.

Patrol members eagerly await feedback and scoring from the judges

In addition, patrols were scored on how engaged everyone was, how their team worked together, and how well they cleaned up afterwards.

We all enjoyed the evening – the dishes were delicious (and no leaders became ill in the judging process! On the contrary, leaders reported being well fed up! (Oh, wait!))

The scouts discovered the hard way (once again) how much time it takes to clean up – but that’s the fun of the learning.

Family Oktoberfest 2018

A marvelous time was had by children and adults alike, at the Spielwelt family Oktoberfest on Saturday 3 November.

Along with children currently involved in our playgroups, playschool and scout group, we also enjoyed seeing so many of our alumni returning to catch up… including one family who have returned after having been away in Germany for 5 years.

There were some beautiful Dirndls and great Lederhosen to be seen (even on some of the darling babies), which made the event all the more enjoyable.

The Oktoberfest organising team did an amazing job with the catering and decorating touches.   There were plenty of folk available to help out on the day too, which gave the event a real community feeling.

It was touch and go there the night before, with a total fire ban being announced, but thankfully the ban was lifted in time for us and we were able to use our fire permit and the cooking of our Spanferkel could go ahead.

Christian’s specially brewed Oktoberfest Bier was enjoyed by those who wished, and there was plenty of food, music and games to keep everyone happy.

The Tug of War game was a hit with the dads and kids.  Some of our Pfadfinder set up a rope bridge swing between the trees and lots of children had a wonderful time playing on that.

Our teenaged scouts and friends held their own Oktoberfest picnic gathering in the park, playing soccer and other games, and enjoying each other’s company at what they called “a dignified distance” from the parents.

By using reusable picnic plates, cups, mugs and cutlery, serving fresh home-made foods and creating our own decorations from recycled materials, we were able to reduce our waste-to-landfill from this event by 70% this year.

Our hard-working organising team would like to thank all those who brought such delicious salads, Bretzeln and desserts to share…. and thank the many folk who helped setting up tables, washing dishes and packing up afterwards.

 

 

Outdoor Classroom Day 2018

The children at GAP enjoyed participating in a global initiative called Outdoor Classroom Day on November 1st.

We enjoyed some time to explore the trees, sticks, grasses, leaves, pine needles, bits of bark, insects, fresh air and sunshine in our surrounding heritage-listed park land.

We also enjoyed a picnic in the beautiful dappled shade under a tree, in the company of our teachers.

Pfadfinder Pfashion Show

The scout hall was alive tonight with music, dancing, food and fashion.

The joeys, cubs and parents were treated to a fashion show and disco tonight, put on by the older scouts and venturers.

Guests were treated to some healthy nibbles and delicious cake in our foyer area  to begin the evening (thanks to our volunteers who helped prepare the food).

Scouts had been learning this term about how the fashion industry is the world’s second-largest polluter and how the world consumes 80 billion pieces of clothing EACH YEAR.  Australians are the world’s second largest consumers of fashion, consuming 27kg of new clothing per person, on average, EACH YEAR.

In response to learning this, Pfadfinder took action.  We collected donations of unwanted clothing, and got busy up-cycling it into inventive new garments or re-purposing it into decorative useful furniture and cushions.  To showcase our knowledge and efforts, we put on a fashion show to educate the younger scouts and their families.

On the night of the fashion show, guests were seated around our runway, and were educated by two of our scouts who gave an informative presentation about some of the appalling facts we had learned about the clothing industry’s environmental impact, the terrible working conditions for labourers, and the dreadful pollution caused by dyeing fabrics.  Our scout hosts urged guests to only buy what is really necessary, think about where garments come from, and purchase second hand.

Guests were then treated to an upbeat presentation of the three “looks” the scouts had created for the Pfadfinder Pfashion show:  Haus, hats and jeans.   Our Venturer scouts kindly became our sound & light crew, using a light-show board they had created in their electronics workshops last term.

Our models each did a wonderful job of presenting the garments and household objects they had designed and created.  Below are a few sample photos.

Here, a previously unwanted but now decorative and useful office chair makes its debut in our fashion Haus collection:

Hats, hats, hats…

An unwanted umbrella was transformed into a delightful be-ribboned parasol:

Shirts were redesigned as skirts and tops…  and other inventive ways to wear and upcycle unwanted garments were on display:

Even the Roman look is making a come-back to the houses of haut couture:

Our stunning jeans collection hit the cat-walk tonight to wow the crowd:

As a finale, some of the models came out wrapped in sheeting, which they cast off simultaneously to reveal their fabulous jeans collection, and kick off the evening’s disco party for all the guests.

Did you know:  polyester does not biodegrade but instead sheds micro-fibres which enter and damage our waterways; cotton dyeing is poisoning the world’s rivers;  clothing industry wages are as low as $1-$3/day; beading and sequins are an indication of child labour; a $5 tshirt has passed through many hands on its journey from field to store… and is designed not to last, so you must purchase another one;  one pair of jeans requires 7000 litres of water during production (which is how much a person would drink over 5 or 6 years); clothing production consumes an unsustainable 32 million Olympic swimming pools of water each year; and $2.6 billion is spent on Halloween costumes every year – worn for one night only.

A useful resource for finding out how ethical your garments really are can be found here.

Think twice before you buy – chances are you don’t even really need that garment or could get it second-hand and save the planet and its people!