Lilly Pilly, Native Finger Lime, and Lemon Aspen are just some of the delicious new additions to a bush tucker garden created for the Koori Art and Garden Project at Bega High.
The school engaged with various community groups which allowed them to create the garden and install the artworks on the school grounds.
In addition to the new garden, a range of Indigenous artworks created by students at the school were also unveiled at the grand opening event on Friday, June 18.
Indigenous Education Officer and former BHS student Erika Luff was in charge of the program which worked collaboratively with non-for-profit Campbell Page, Riverside Nursey, South Coast Flora Nursery and Bournda Environmental Education Centre.
Funding for the art and garden project was provided by the Department of Community and Justice.
Students from various year groups at the school were involved in creating the garden by planting the various native plants. Although led by the Indigenous staff and students at the school, non-Indigenous students were also involved.
During the planting of the native vegetation, some students were also invited to sample the produce that was brought over by a representative from South Coast Flora Nursery.
A number of students from the school were invited to attend the event where students and staff members from the special needs department put on a morning tea and barbeque lunch.
Mentor and Yuin man Shaquille Aldridge taught the Indigenous students a number of welcome dances which were proudly performed by the students at the event.
Ms Luff said that one of the project's aim was to increase the cultural identity of the students, an outcome which she felt was well achieved.
"This project has been successful and engaging for all involved and will be enjoyed by many in the future," she said.
Principal Scott Defina thanked all involved at the launch event and highlighted the key role that the students played in participating in the project.
"These projects connect the kids with the community and having community come to the school is the way we can make a difference because we are a community high school and we are representative of the entire Bega Valley community- we don't exclude anybody."
Around 12 percent of students who attend the school are Indigenous and so projects like this aim to connect those students with culture and allow them to celebrate and honour their unique heritage and traditions with the wider school community.
Mr Defina said that in addition to the state mandated Indigenous syllabuses taught to all students, BHS also has two Aboriginal education offers who are in charge of developing programs such as the gardens and art project.
They also run a fitness program with the kids in collaboration with Campbell Page and will be looking into more projects like this one into the future.
Mr Defina said the Indigenous education officers also created professional learning and development modules for school staff members about Aboriginal perspectives, Welcome to Country and cultural competency.
The art installation project was also coordinated by Ms Luff who said the pieces were created by students during a trip to Bournda last year.
The students were told Dreaming stories and were able to represent their own experiences during the trip with an artwork about what they saw, did, and heard on the day.
Another piece represented the Bega River with Mumbulla Mountain (Biamanga) in the background with the inclusion of native and introduced flora and fauna.
A new school sign was also unveiled on the day by Ms Luff and year 10 student Jakiya who worked on the project together for the last several weeks.
Jakiya sketched the artwork for the new sign before they did a version with marker which was then digitalised by another staff member at the school.
Jakiya said she learnt the skills needed for the intricate dot painting artform from her mum and nan.
The sign reads "Geebung Guran" which means, "Welcome to the lands of the Djiringanj People".
The sign will be mounted below the school's electronic sign at the front gate entry to the school.