Tanja pupils hatch plans for chicken rearing

TANJA Public School has received a boost to help promote an important message.

The school has successfully obtained an Environmental Trust grant, courtesy of the State Government.

Tanja PS will receive $3500 over two years to teach pupils to raise chickens, and to produce and fertilise eggs.

Principal Rick MacFetters said he was thrilled to receive the grant because the school promotes environmental sustainability.

“We are very excited,” he said.

“We have a strong environmental program and we’re all about sustainable living.

“The kids wanted chickens earlier and I had to say no because we couldn’t house them properly – now we can.”

The news has excited Tanja pupils, with the general consensus being “everyone loves eggs”.

Pupil Willow Conroy said “I’m excited because we get chickens”.

The grant will boost the school’s current environmental program, which utilises the school’s garden and orchard.

The facilities are used to grow and harvest fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries and beetroot.

These items are then used during a weekly cooking class with teacher’s aide Liz Wheeler.

Mr MacFetters said the new grant will aid the school to produce and fertilise eggs, which will be “handy for the class”. 

The funding will also allow staff and pupils to plant seedlings in a new hot house.

Mr MacFetters said seeds were previously harvested from the garden and orchid.

“This is just an extra step to increase our success rate,” he said.

To cap off celebrations, the Environmental Trust grant will allow the school to expand its garden.

Mr MacFetters said the school planned to construct two large, raised garden beds, which will allow a higher level of productivity.

“I’m just thrilled - it will add another dimension to our sustainability program,” he said.

Last November, Tanja Public School unsuccessfully applied for the Environmental Trust grant.

Mr MacFetters said it was a “bit of a surprise” to obtain the grant in 2014.

“We were disheartened to miss out last time,” he said.

“This will help our sustainability program… it’s brilliant.”

Mr MacFetters said the school will sell some of its produce, including jams and preserves, at the Tanja Market on April 5.

Environmental Minister Robyn Parker said 52 grants had been allocated to schools, in addition to 80 announced in November.

The grants were announced as part of the Food Gardens in Schools program.

Member for Bega Andrew Constance congratulated Tanja Public School’s staff and pupils for receiving the grant.

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