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Lakelands Primary students head outdoors for Black Swan Lake dreaming

Lakelands’ Black Swan Lake became a giant ‘outdoor classroom’ this week with the launch of an Interpretive Walk program for local primary school students to learn about the area’s rich indigenous cultural heritage and environment.

Two groups of Year 4 and 5 students walked from the school to the site accompanied by their teachers and parent helpers, on Thursday 24th May. Each group embarked on a one-hour journey around the lake guided by George Walley of Mandjoogoordap Dreaming.

Mr Walley, a former primary school teacher and now leading indigenous tour operator, taught the children about the Noongar names of plants and animals and about Black Swan Lake’s rich cultural and environmental values – and some of its secret dreamtime places and mysteries.

Black Swan Lake, located within Peet’s Lakelands Estate, features a purpose-built outdoor classroom space with a blackboard, seating area and honky nut and leaf collection boxes.

Peet Limited Managing Director and CEO Brendan Gore said the event acknowledged and honoured the Aboriginal heritage of Lakelands, with the new outdoor classroom facilities providing a wonderful new learning opportunity for Lakelands students.

“We want to help residents understand and appreciate the rich environmental and Aboriginal heritage they have right on their doorstep which have been protected and enhanced as part of Lakelands’ development and growth. And what better place to start to help create that appreciation and deeper understanding than with the area’s great young kids.”

Lakelands Primary School Principal Marnie Hamilton believes it’s important to teach students about diversity and cultural heritage.

“We see this event as being important in acknowledging Aboriginal students and local Aboriginal families for the cultural inheritance and values they provide to Lakelands,” said Mrs Hamilton.

Principal Hamilton, accompanied by volunteers, also cooked up a BBQ lunchtime sausage sizzle feast for the children, parents and staff participating.

A noted musician, Mr Walley also gave a lunchtime didgeridoo and guitar performance to round out a magic learning experience for the 64 young walkers from Lakelands Primary.

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