School kids swap books for chooks

Wollongong Botanic Garden was greener than usual yesterday as 1000 Illawarra primary schoolchildren spent the day learning about raising chickens, protecting sea creatures, feeding worms and eating bush tucker.

The activities were part of Enviro 2012 - an annual Wollongong City Council workshop designed to teach children how to look after the environment.

At a "Chickens are Magicians" workshop, two chooks named Chewbacca and Darth Vader showed Dapto Public School Year 5 students how household scraps could be turned into fresh eggs.

"We learnt that having chickens means you can get extra food," 11-year-old Richelle Fuller said.

Emily Thomas, 10, also liked the idea.

"Chickens can use up waste from your house and make good garden mulch for veggie patches," Emily said.

Elsewhere in the garden, children studied marine life, edible fungus and native Australian flora, learning how removing animals or plants from their natural environment could harm delicate ecosystems.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery attended the Enviro day to launch the council's yearly Rise and Shine rubbish pick-up program, encouraging school and community groups to get involved in a city-wide clean-up campaign during spring.

"We live in such a beautiful part of the world and it's vital we all work together to protect it."

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