The Geelong College has acquired a 37 hectare (92 acre) site for Outdoor and Environmental education at Cape Otway, adjoining the Great Otway National Park and in easy walking distance of the Cape Otway Lighthouse, The Great Ocean Walk and Station Beach.
Principal, Mr Andrew Barr, is excited about the site and the greater development of the Learning Outdoors and Environmental program. “This represents a major landmark in the history of the College,” he said. “Cape Otway is a beautiful part of the world, and one that is significant to students who have been on our Year 8 camp which has been run in the area for a number of years. The diversity of landscape, flora and fauna, and its historical significance, both in Indigenous history and since European settlement, were the reasons we chose the site. We felt it had much to teach us,” he continued.
Mr Barr spoke of the benefits of an Outdoors Learning Program. “Learning outdoors is linked to so many other key learning disciplines, such as Environmental Studies, Science, Geography, History, as well as benefits through social and emotional learning. Our existing Learning Outdoors program is comprehensive but we felt it was missing a sense of place and connection for students in developing stewardship responsibilities for the environment. The Cape Otway property will enable that. The opportunities the property offers will help to extensively expand and shape our Outdoor and Environmental Learning Programs over time.”
Students of all ages from across the College will learn at the property. “It is revisiting, contributing and developing an affinity with a place that helps young people to learn about a place deeply. Students from the Junior School will visit Cape Otway with their families and on camps, and as they continue through their education, they will return regularly and spend longer periods at the property,” Mr Barr explained.
The purchase of the site comes after a year-long period of analysis of appropriate sites and comprehensive due diligence regarding planning and safety. The College will begin a phased development of the site to support its programs.
“We will engage professionals with a real understanding of environmental design to help us to develop the site sensitively and with genuine environmental responsibility. One of our ideas is to have self-powered accommodation that helps students to understand their responsibility as energy consumers and who use resources with respect,” Mr Barr said.
The Geelong College will begin developing the site in the coming months and plans are underway for a number of activities at the property throughout the year.
For more information please visit The Geelong College website, geelongcollege.vic.edu.au
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