Golden Valley Tree park hosts hands-on learning

Working in the field on real-life projects is an opportunity students relish.

So for a group of horticulture and conservation and land management students from our Bunbury campus, working on the beautiful Balingup’s Golden Valley Tree Park has been an invaluable chance to get their hands dirty while learning various aspects of cultivation and landscape planning.

Information technology students have also been involved in the project, posting on social media and helping with marketing.

The project marks the start of a special relationship between South Regional TAFE and the tree park, benefiting both the students and the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup.

In the first term, students are working on garden maintenance and design of the gardens around the heritage-listed homestead. They are also starting herbarium collections, surveying bush birds and flora and creating marketing campaigns for eco-tourism sites.

South Regional TAFE Managing Director Sue Lapham said the college welcomed the opportunity for students to gain learning experience in the community and extend their networks with horticulture and conservation industry members.

“We know the special relationship our students will develop with the Golden Valley Tree Park will last a lifetime as they return to see the results of their work,” Ms Lapham said.

Golden Valley Tree Park Management Committee Chair Gary Hodge said the committee was proud to offer a unique precinct for young people to support their learning outcomes in an inspiring setting.

“The partnership with South Regional TAFE and Parks and Wildlife Services also brings a new education and training capability to the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup,” Mr Hodge said.

The Golden Valley Tree Park is celebrated for its autumn colour, having received glowing accolades from national and state-wide publications. It has around 50,000 visitors a year.

For the future, IT students will be involved in the design and construction of high-tech information systems, enabling visitors to use their smart phones to access park information.

The valuable collaboration will help to develop people’s skills in conservation and land management practices and their adaptation to changing climatic conditions.

Photo: Horticulture and conservation and land management students examine a Bunya nut as part of their engagement in an exciting learning project with Golden Valley Tree Park in Balingup.