Contributed by Nikhil, Bachelor of Engineering
As I explained in my previous blog, I always felt gardening wasn’t the type of work I would commit to, but soon realised that anyone (regardless of age) can participate in it. It seemed like the garden called me once again with the third and final session of Beach Care. However, this day was very special since the students participating not only completed their volunteer commitment, but also got the opportunity to explore the incredible art displayed at the 2014 Swell Sculpture Festival.
On Saturday 20th September, 17 Griffith students were given the opportunity to travel to the final Beach Care session at Palm Beach. The session began with an introduction from Joel, explaining his role at Griffith and how this type of work helps him in his research. He also provided a quick demo on the art of planting trees, informing us of the materials required for the session. With talks out of the way, volunteers dived straight into action with trees of many sizes being planted all across the compound.
Once the gardening session was over, our attention shifted towards picking up litter. Volunteers scavenged items including cigarette butts, bicycle pedals and sweaters. One can assume that it was quite a party down there; however, the unfortunate side of this is that people didn’t consider cleaning up. Remember kids, in order to preserve our environment, it is vital we pick up our own rubbish and remind others to do so as well.
With most of the area cleaned up, volunteers were treated to a fantastic BBQ put together by Joel and the Beach Care gang. I tried negotiating more modelling contracts with seagulls but they refused to sign up. Nevertheless, I had ample opportunity to take some shots for our journey to the sculpture festival at Currumbin.
The Swell Sculpture Festival features predominant artwork from a range of artists, domestic and international. Each sculpture shares the mystery and imagination of the artists themselves. My personal favourites included the dog posing as a photographer and the heavy police investigation around a banana peel. The combination of good company and aqua waters finished the afternoon with a delight.
While Beach Care is over for the year, the Griffith Mates will be running these sessions in both Semester 1 & 2 of 2015. If you know any incoming or current Griffith students that are interested in volunteer work, then please pass on this message to them! Beach Care is a great way to introduce yourself and others to community engagement and we are certainly excited to meet more participants!
Personally, I would like to thank Joel and Tegan, who have run the Beach Care sessions; without their support, I wouldn’t have been so inspired by gardening as I am today. I would also like to thank Kate and Christy for promoting Beach Care on the Facebook and Explore blog pages. I would also like to thank the taxi drivers (Rob and Barry) for driving us back and forth between locations. And most of all, I would like to thank the volunteers for their participation this semester! Good luck for your exams and see you all next year.