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| Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle | www.mn.catholic.org.au
SQID leads to sustainable water use
By SIOBHAN MCALARY
Teacher David Pitfield with student leaders Lily Ryan and Rachael Scott.
By GERARD MOWBRAY
THE SCHOOL S BACKYARD
swamp, currently a weed ridden
mine ventilation shaft, will support
this goal of sustainable water use
when it is converted into a stunning
wetland by students and staff.
"Because of the layout of the school,
run-off is high in volume and very
poor in quality," she explained.
"The aim of the project is to reduce
the quantity and improve the quality
of water that goes into the drain.
This will protect people's health and
The $5000 Hunter Water grant
Amanda won is already being used
to remove lantana, hazardous trees,
wood and bricks from the area and
install a fence.
The sheer size of the area, 25x25
metres, has split the project into
The first stage includes initial
clearing and planting.
"Large scale planting of strips along
the open storm water drain and
gardens will prevent litter washing
and blowing into the catchment and
"At this stage the students can't
be in here working because it's
too much of an unknown. Once
we get the perimeter up and have
better visibility then they can get
Amanda is grateful to the PE
teachers who gave their time to help
clear the rubbish.
"Getting grants was our first obstacle.
The only other one's been time. The
curriculum is full on for the students
and all the staff are busy."
Year 10 school leaders Rachael
Scott and Lily Ryan, of the Steering
Sustainability Committee, have
enjoyed helping plan the project.
"It's takes a lot of time and thought
but it's good to have the opportunity
to do something about the drain,"
Rachael added, "It's good the
school's working towards this idea of
sustainable use of water, especially
into the future."
Stage One's deadline is July 2012
and Amanda is keen to plant
seedlings by February/March to
"I don't want the area eroding in
heavy rain, otherwise all you're doing
is washing sediment into the drain."
Stage Two will see drainage diverted
to the wetland and a chain of raised
ponds will catch and slow down the
water and remove residue.
"People will be able to come here
and relax and faculties such as
Science, Marine Studies and HSIE
will use it for educational purposes.
Ultimately we would like to expand
our wetland into a community
education facility," said Amanda.
Assistant Director of Schools
Gerard Mowbray recently led a
group of Year 11 Ancient History
students and teachers touring
Italy. He shares some of the
group s experiences.
ITALY, OR AS the Italians say, Italia,
conjures images of gelato and
cappuccino, ancient ruins, walled cities,
artistic masterpieces and the splendour
that is Rome. All of these and more were
enjoyed by students from St Clare's Taree,
St Paul's Booragul, St Mary's Maitland
and St Francis Xavier's Hamilton as they
gained insights into the ancient, medieval,
Renaissance and contemporary worlds.
Since the Higher School Certificate
Ancient History syllabus mandates study
of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the two
towns destroyed by the eruption of Mt
Vesuvius in 79AD, why not visit them, if
opportunity and resources allow? These
two towns were enshrined in lava, and
virtually preserved Roman society of the
first century AD. We visited both of these
excavated sites, enjoying the expertise of
our guides and enhancing the students'
knowledge and understanding of the
ancient world. In addition to curriculum
requirements, visiting key Roman sites -
the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the
Villa of the Emperor Hadrian, and so much
more - gave breathtaking insights into the
Christian Rome, too, has so much to offer:
the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel,
St Peter's Basilica and the Catacombs,
as well as some of the many churches
belonging to the city.
Witnessing the beauty of Capri and
Tuscany, the magnificence of Renaissance
architecture and art, Michelangelo's statue
of David, medieval Siena, the culture of
Florence and the uniqueness of Venice
afforded many special moments. As Adam
Mowbray of St Clare's Taree wrote, "I
loved the tour and I made friends that I
will hopefully keep for a long time. The
knowledge I gained with regard to ancient
history is invaluable."
Rebecca Fraser of St Francis Xavier's
College went further: "The benefits of
this trip extend from Ancient History
to Extension History -- for my historical
investigation I will be looking into
Renaissance Architecture in Italy. However,
the greatest value goes far beyond the
academic. New friendships were formed
and old ones strengthened, and the only
way to truly sum up this experience is -
Amanda Mohr, geography teacher at St Pius X
High School, Adamstown, is spearheading the
school's goal of sustainable water use
by installing a Stormwater Quality
Improvement Device (SQID).
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