Fearless5: Bringing Birds Back to Santa Maria

What is Fearless5?

Fearless5 is the Year 5 component of Santa Maria College’s Enhanced Learning Program. The Enhanced Learning Program is a suite of carefully crafted, challenging learning experiences scoped and sequenced across Years 5 – 10. Each one adds to a student’s skill set and their understanding of the world beyond school. Each year, every student participates in a learning experience designed to highlight a particular set of skills. Those skills link back to our Connecting Learning to Life (CL2L) key attributes.

There are many complaints about crows around the College. They often cause stains on blazers and steal lunches. Year 5 students decided to investigate why there are so many crows and not many different birds, particularly native birds, in the school area. The question they focussed on was, ‘How might we provide a safe and sustainable environment for our local birds?’ 

The Process

The girls started the process by listening to guest speakers from the Gould League of WA and Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre. The speakers were passionate about the bird community. The students went bird watching at various locations at the College, Troy Park, and the Attadale foreshore to spark their curiosity further. Many of them were surprised to find that natural environments had very minimal crow numbers with a wide variety of bird species. So why wasn’t our school getting this diverse range of birds visiting? 

Sustainable Goals

The students’ investigations led them to flip their thinking from ‘How are the birds impacting my life?’ to ‘How am I impacting the lives of birds?’ Focusing heavily on Goal 11, ‘Sustainable Cities and Developments’ and Goal 15, ‘Life on Land’ of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Year 5 students delved deeper into the world of human development and how this is impacting our native wildlife. The girls came up with very creative, innovative solutions. 

What’s next?

Eight of our Year 5 students will go on to form a bird committee. The committee will meet with Mrs Oaten to present their proposals about what the school could implement to encourage native birds to visit. Our young learners are excited for this opportunity, which will allow them to see the real-world application and benefit of all their passion and hard work.

What did the parents think?

Parents were invited into the Year 5 classrooms this week to view the girls’ presentations. We asked a couple of parents for their thoughts. Here’s what they had to say.

Debbie Thornton said, “Firstly, I thought the Fearless5 ‘encouraging birds back to SMC’ was a great topic to research!  It was so impressive to see the amount of effort, creativity and research each student put into their work.  I was also very impressed with the enthusiasm and confidence the girls showed me as they explained how their idea could attract birds back to the College.  I also learnt a few new facts, such as – I had no idea galahs nest in natural tree hollows!  All up it was a fantastic, interesting and informative presentation.

Sarah Sheehan said, “The Fearless5 presentations were a triumph.  All students spoke confidently and knowledgeably about their projects. It was very clear to see the breadth of authentic learning that has occurred in a real-world context for the girls.  The diversity amongst student projects highlighted individual strengths and creativities as ideas and models were presented in a multitude of ways.  Congratulations girls and teaching team!”

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