This is the first blog about the STEP kids program that will begin this year.
STEP Inc is a community group which is starting an entirely new approach to learning about gardening and caring for our natural environment – it’s called ‘Kids caring for country’. Cathy Robertson, its spokesperson will be outlining the new program in a series of blogs. Cathy is the coordinator of the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park Inc , a site partner at the National Arboretum Canberra.
Cathy’s idea is simple. ‘ I want to get children gardening and enjoying the benefits of good science, good feelings about their homeland on the southern tablelands, a healthy life style and outdoor fun’ This will program can give children the opportunity to study,to have hands on experience in community and school gardens and to create their own work about their country on the Southern Tablelands – past and present. ‘
Cathy’s philosophy is that ‘the bush’ is a misleading way to describe country – she says that kids can have fun and get to know the iconic features of local Australian landscapes. They can learn about the special associations of southern tablelands plants and animals so they can enjoy caring them.
Cathy says recent research has begun to examine the links between use of the outdoors, access to outdoor space and human health. This research shows that communities are facing contemporary health challenges such as a growth in levels of obesity and stress. The outdoors and natural spaces have great potential for alleviating such health problems. STEP is pleased to develop the resources to provide opportunities to teach children about the joys and benefits of our local landscapes.