Bushlink Blooms in Schools (Manly Daily 29th October 2016)

Inclusive program teaches about environment and provides employment for people with disabilities

A BAND of enthusiastic gardeners spent a productive day at Narraweena Public School.

Northside Enterprise sent along its Bushlink team to work in the primary school’s grounds.

The inclusive program, Schools and Bushlink, teaches school-aged children the importance of maintaining native gardens and environmental education.

The outreach project also connects young people with disabled members of the community.

The Brookvale-based organisation provides employment for disabled people, coordinator Cathy Hockey said.

“We employ people with intellectual disabilities,” Mrs Hockey said.

“We visit schools once a term to work on landscaping, environmental projects and maintenance.”

The Bushlink team worked alongside students, planting natives, watering and mulching.

“Students come out, generally a class at a time, and work with our team,” she said. Bushlink also introduced a new ambassador to the school.

“Tracey Spicer has come on board to promote our schools’ inclusion program,” Mrs Hockey said

“The northern beaches has embraced the program and we are currently working with 24 local schools.”

Celebrity landscaper Jamie Durie is another highprofile local ambassador. Mr Durie launched the school’s program and has provided the voiceover on the website, Mrs Hockey said.

The successful school initiative, launched in 2013, will be expanded.

“We will be expanding into the northern district of Sydney next year and working with schools in Pymble and Chatswood,” Mrs Hockey said.

Non-profit Northside Enterprise, based at Brookvale, set up Bushlink in 2009. As well as its schools program, the community initiative works with businesses. For more details go to bushlink.org.au.