Getting back to nature
A Perth school is in the midst of plans to upgrade the Foragers site in Pemberton for use as a country campus.
St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls bought the business late last year and aims to undertake construction before the start of the 2021 school year.
Principal Fiona Johnston and school development and philanthropy director Kellie Hasluck were in Pemberton last week to meet community members and the Manjimup Shire Council to discuss how the relationship between the school and the community could be beneficial to each other.
“We’re here to make connections with the community we’re so excited to become a part of,” Ms Johnston said.
“COVID has hampered our plans a little bit, but we’re crossing our fingers and hoping to have things ready for February.”
As part of the changes to the Foragers site — now renamed as the Yeagerup campus — five additional cabins will be built in a style sympathetic to the region’s style to house up to 30 students each.
Other changes and features to be added at the Yeagerup campus include an outdoor eating place, an outdoor cooking space and a space for indoor gatherings.
Programs the school will hold at the Yeagerup campus include the Year 9 Rites of Passage program called the Wandering Spirit — which is the meaning of the name Yeagerup — to learn more about themselves in a natural setting, away from phones and social media.
“We’ll run that program about eight times a year in groups of about 20 girls,” Ms Johnston said.
Other programs include the school’s Year 5 and Year 6 outdoor education program, professional development retreats, a Year 11 retreat and more.
“Its purpose will probably evolve and change as we get settled into the programs and realise the capability of what it can be for St Hilda’s,” Ms Johnston said.
Ms Johnston said the aim was to work in harmony with the Pemberton community in a mutually beneficial way.
“It’s about letting the community know about what we intend to do and find out how we can support or be involved in the community,” she said.
“We want the bus to pull up and for our girls to gasp and feel a sense of home when they’re here.”
Ms Hasluck said the hope was also to create a generation of girls who know and love the Lower South West region.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails