It has been a very busy autumn for the Outdoor Education team. Our Year 9 students have completed the Lake Tali Karng bush walk and Year 8 has completed the Mitchell River adventure program.
The Lake Tali Karng area could not have been more contrasting form one program to the next. Students on the first program experienced beautiful sunshine, warm and still conditions perfect for taking advantage of the spectacular views on offer and providing a beautiful setting for their overnight solo. The second program provided high humidity, lots of rain and a southerly blast that bought snow flurries to the nearby peaks.
I was so proud of the students that participated. We had students for whom this was their first outdoor education program, students that were challenged by the bushwalking, some anxious about going on solo and those that doubted they could complete the program. It was great to hear them all share their stories at the end of the trip about what was challenging, what was exciting and how, if you help each other, you can achieve so much.
The Mitchell River adventure program is a great stepping-stone for Lake Tali Karng. For the first time, students undertook a bushwalk from the Den of Nargun to Angusvale, approximately 20km. It is a step up from Year 7 camp; the students have to carry their personal gear as well as group equipment and accommodation. The journey follows the Mitchell River walking track with steep gullies, rugged hills and spectacular views of the rapids along the river. Students embrace technology, using IPads to aid in navigation, identify flora and fauna, points of interest and indigenous heritage.
The students also have the opportunity to get to connect with the Mitchell River in another way, boarding sports rafts and guiding themselves through rapids, pebble races and small gorges to learn about the Mitchell rivers significance, not just to Gippsland but the state of Victoria. The beautiful weather - sunny days and clear nights - provided fog in the morning and clear skies in the afternoon. Students learned about the relationship between the weather and our rivers. Many said they thought the rapids would be bigger. Our reply to ‘think about the weather patterns over the last few months’ brought a dawning realisation. Less rain, less river activity.
On the Wednesday night, we shared a lovely camp oven meal, sharing stories of achievements and discussing future challenges.
Some students do not quite understand the need for Outdoor Education. My hope is that in a few years’ time, they will look back on the experience they had and understand how it taught them to step outside their comfort zone to push themselves to achieve.