Beach Clean-Up for Byrne Girls

The Byrne girls took a bit of time to decide as a Homeroom what they wanted to do for their Strive9 Project. One of the early ideas pitched by some students was to complete a beach clean-up at Rottnest. Unfortunately, this idea fell through due to the logistics and cost associated with the journey to Rottnest. They thought that the idea of a clean-up was still a good one, so started to look at areas closer to the College. Many of the girls suggested Cottesloe because it’s a beach they spend a fair bit of time at over the Summer.  

A few students got in touch with the Town of Cottesloe to make some initial enquiries about the project and were put in touch with Adeline Morrissey, the Environmental Coordinator at the Council. The girls liaised with Adeline over the next few weeks to organise the specific details of our project. It was at this point that Adeline proposed the idea of the dune rehabilitation to go with the beach clean-up and the girls were happy to add the weeding and mulching to their project.

Adeline Morrissey from the Town of Cottesloe briefing the girls

Byrne student Nina Tavani said “We organised a dune rejuvenation project and a beach clean-up in the nature reserve near Cottesloe beach with the assistance of the Cottesloe Council. The environmental dune rejuvenation included us weeding, mulching, and planting so that native plants can grow without competition.”

On Implementation Day, Adeline gave the girls a brief introduction and ran them through the various weeds they would be removing and the best ways to use the various tools at their disposal to make sure they removed the weeds and all their roots.

The girls worked in an area of dunes/beach about halfway between Cottesloe Beach and Leighton Beach. They started by weeding a section of dunes. After about an hour of weeding (and a short break) some of the girls moved on to mulching. They were responsible for carting buckets and wheelbarrows full of mulch and spreading it around the various native plants that were being used to re-vegetate the dune. The girls then finished of their work by completing a clean-up of the beach itself and some of the nearby dunes.

Homeroom teacher Derek Smith said the girls had a sense of accomplishment when they looked back on all the work they’d accomplished. “The nature of the tasks we were completing made it really easy to see the progress we were making and the work we had completed once we were finished.”

The group worked closely with volunteers from Cottesloe Coast-Care who really appreciated the work that the girls were doing.

Derek added, “I think that chatting to the volunteers really helped the girls realise the importance of the work they were completing. Many of the volunteers are retirees and with 22 students and a few teachers the group was able to do in one morning what might have taken a small group of volunteers a few days to complete.”

The students were also shown a few areas of dune that had been rehabilitated and revegetated over the past few years, which put into perspective for the girls, the work they had completed.

We asked Derek about the experience. “As a Religion teacher, I often talk about stewardship and caring for creation, so to have a project that made a real practical difference to the environment was very rewarding. I’m immensely proud of the work the girls were able to complete. The organisation process wasn’t always smooth sailing, but when it came to Implementation Day the girls got down to work with the minimum of fuss and I think the work that they completed was really impressive. On a personal note, growing up on the South Coast, caring for our amazing coastlines is something that has always been close to my heart, so to complete some work in this area was pretty special for me.”

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