FOUR Mortlake College Year 9 students got their hands dirty this week for a good cause.
Willow Collins, Erin McGuigan, Kismet McCarroll and Ryan Tanner filled a garden bed with soil and planted seedlings at Abbeyfield House – the first of two garden beds and four herb tables to be built at the aged care facility.
In doing so, the students shovelled up to five cubic metres of dirt.
A further two smaller herb tables will be placed in Dunlop Street outside the Mortlake library and information centre.
The project came about through the Change It Up initiative – a Foundation for Young Australians idea that connects young people with their local community – last year.
Initially, the students had been determined to tidy up Tea Tree Lake, but did not manage to go through with the plans.
This year, Moyne Shire youth development officer Geraldine Edar approached students with a $2000 grant from the youth council for a project of their choice.
Erin said the funding had been a big boost to their aspirations.
“Geraldine came to us with a grant and said ‘here, use it for whatever project you decide to do’,” she said.
“We decided to help Abbeyfield House because through our visits here we know they like gardening, but they never get the chance to do it.
“It is very nice to come here and they’re always very happy to see us.
“It’s nice to give them something permanent they can use.”
Kismet said the hard work was worth it.
“I think it was a really good opportunity for us,” she said.
“We worked really well together and it was really hard work.
“We did a few weeks of planning, but today (Monday), we did the physical work.”
Mortlake Men’s Shed helped build the elevated garden beds for the project, while Ryan built two of the smaller herb tables.
With money still left from the funding, the group has some decisions to make as to whether they extend the project further.