Flowers are blooming and veggies are about ready to eat at Kintore Street School’s community garden.
And the five students who have been tending to the patches, at the Katherine Museum, are well on their way to achieving Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh medals for their work.
Spending one hour per week planting a range of vegetables, fruit trees, flowers and herbs, the students are experiencing the benefits that their service provides to others.
“The students were a little bit hesitant about volunteering their time for others at first, but now they have grasped the concept and they can see the benefits, they have gotten right into it,” Kintore Street School teacher Robert Paynter said.
“It is quite a commitment, they have come out every week, and they really enjoy learning about giving back to the community,” he said.
Kintore’s four beds of well maintained plants, at different stages of growth, are not only a chance for the students to develop green thumbs, but also a chance to develop confidence and broaden life experiences.
Youth Development Officer from the NT Branch of Duke of Edinburgh program, Emily Reid said there is a notable difference in the student’s confidence levels.
“Duke of Edinburgh is all about young people developing skills, goal setting and getting a sense of satisfaction once that goal has been achieved.
“I only come down once every few weeks but over the course of this community garden project, I’ve noticed a big difference. Their confidence levels are up, they love coming out here and they are much more likely to have a chat with others that pass through,” she said.
Briony Festing is one of the students benefiting from the community garden.
She takes photos of the project and her fellow gardeners, and she has had the chance to try their fresh produce.
“My favourite is pumpkin and I am going to make soup when they are ready,” she said.
“The gardens face the hospital, and provide those driving past something really nice to look at,” Mr Paynter said.
The Service section of the Duke of Edinburgh Award encourages young people to volunteer their time to and understand the benefits of their service to their community.