Becoming a judge crossed my mind in another life. My enthusiasm however was always muted and so it is not something that I pursued. Today, however I became a judge of a rather special kind and it was so much fun. Together with two friends, fellow judges, we set about judging a school competition.This is in conjunction with Brisbane's wonderful and vibrant agricultural show, called the "EKKA." I blogged about the show last year but this aspect of it is new to me. The brief was to create an Australian Landscape depending on what they knew and how they perceived it in the confines of a wheelbarrow. Transforming neglected and rusty wheelbarrows into a stunning Australian landscape.
We saw, studied, walked around, and asked copious questions of school children who were responsible for creating them and all I can say is that we thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with the children but also with the teachers. We heard some little ones tell us with confidence and pride, how they conceived their project and what they had to do to bring it to fruition. Children as young as 4 were involved. Others aged 7 were there to guide us through their projects, some remembered all the names of the plants they had sown and watched grow. Everyone put a lot of care and attention into it and had a lot of fun and learnt something in the process. I took a few pictures to share with you all as it is such a good idea and one that schools anywhere can adopt according to their terrain and their circumstances.
This group of children created a snowy mountain on the one side with chicken wire, because they anticipate seeing snow on a school trip to Canberra, but their area is rather dry and arid so the rest was filed with succulents which is what they are used to.
The detail here was wonderful and not all is visible but there were bicycles made of bendy shiny pipe cleaners to represent active life. Plants grown from seed which were all edible and the seven year old girl who told us about them knew them all and then the lego building complete with water storage tanks at the back was to show us life in the here and now.
This was probably one of my favourites and again the picture leaves a lot unseen. This was created by older children but who were in a correctional secure training centre. 60 % according to the teacher, are indigenous and they were keen to paint their cultural symbols, their flag, their serpents, turtles,and other patterns on the pebbles to represent who they are which they then fired. All the plants were chosen to have a cultural significance for the children, such as the vines and even the lilies.
This was the overall winner - They looked at the history of Australia's most notorious criminal, Ned Kelly and they created The Incredible Nedibles - edible plants made in a garden and a stream which symbolised where he had killed the two policemen. The straw people were made of leaves of corn wrapped around a central pole. The top silk threads of the corn were woven around their heads, like hair. All the plants were NEDibles.
This was a watering hole created with glue and water to create the stream effect and the plants were those found in the rainforest.
This one depicted the Great Barrier Reef with all the plants being the coral and the sea plants in the ocean. The barrow was decorated with shells that the children had collected. There were more, each one special in its own way and telling a separate story. The children were rooted to their landscape and had a clear and detailed vision of it as well as problems that were likely to affect their landscapes and their lives in the years ahead.