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Notes From the Footscray Substation

Read Tuesday, 2 Jun 2015

The Weather Stations: Substations project at Footscray City College involves a class of Year Nine students in an innovative program that invites them to engage with climate change and the environment, through art and creativity. Here, we present some of the highlights of the work the students have produced recently.

Image: Students undertaking the Substations programme.
Students from the Footscray City College Substation
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Image of the Grampians National Park by <a href=””>Ed Dunens</a> (CC BY 2.0)

The Grampians

by Javier

Walking out of the house and into the sun all I could see was dirt, clear blue sky, ants, rabbits and kangaroos. As I look around the ground I see a group of ants gathering together to go into their home, while looking up into the sky all I smell was pure fresh air. The clouds were moving around slowly like a turtle race, the feeling of the wind pushing against me was like having a shower. While looking far away I can see two kangaroos looking straight at me as I make a move from my position they two did the same thing.

Food foraging

by Luca

Whilst blindly walking through Footscray we were stopped and Patrick illuminated edible plants lying poisoned next to us, where once they breathed and twirled around each other. After scavenging for a small variety of the many edible plants available in our unique land they were mixed together into a salad. The divine smell of the natural essence that the herbs and leaves produced had me drawn in like fish to bait, although the flavour was overwhelming the vibrant taste and lively crunch was enlightening. Disgracefully this fresh food is emaciated and intoxicated by our litter, our pollution and our poisons. No longer can we treat what was here before us like this, we can’t disregard what mother nature provides us, we must respect our earth.

River view

by Eliza

My feet thud against the wooden planks as I cross the bridge, a slight breeze stirring wisps of my hair and blowing them into my face. Pausing at the centre, I grip the red handrail and gaze at the landscape before me, taking in the details. Ahead lies the river, its shimmering surface alight with the blazing rays of the sun. Grey rocks tinted with the deep green of algae line the water on both sides,  separating the land from the water. Lush green grass ripples in the wind, darkened by the shadows of the enormous trees that tower above the ground. Sparrows, magpies, galahs and rainbow lorikeets dart in and out of the vegetation, disturbing the quiet with a ruckus chorus of birdsong. In the distance a dog barks, followed by a squeal of childish laughter floating on the breeze. Suddenly I hear my name being called, telling me that it’s time to go. Slowly, I turn away and begin making my way across the rest of the bridge, thinking about the river. The river I have grown up on.The river that I have always lived on. The river that is so full of life… I can only hope it stays that way.

Maribyrnong River

by Maxine

The road tips downwards, hurling me towards the silvery body of water. Straightening my legs, I stand on the pedals and let my bike gather speed, whizzing through the freezing air. The river releases thick columns of morning mist, spiralling into the air in curling tendrils. Towering sky scrapers are silhouetted in the distance, backed by the slow turning of the Ferris wheel. In the icy water, two hot air balloons are reflected, catching the marmalade rays of the morning sun. The air is silent, the world still asleep, it’s just the river and the morning and me.

The Lake

by Eliza

The water ripples beneath me, shifting and shimmering as tiny white-capped waves spread across the surface. Behind me, the sun shines at its brightest, its rays beating down against my exposed back. Breathing in, I cast a glance at the landscape around me. The lush green hills, the endless stretch of sparkling water and the boats that speed so gracefully over it, narrowly avoiding the gnarled trees that reach out of the otherwise flat surface. Bracing myself, I step forward and dive into the depths of the water below. The water envelops me, wrapping me in its cold grip, trying to pull me deeper. I begin to swim, back into the warmer water, heading towards the surface and the sparkling rays of the sun.

A Plethora of Joy

by Luca

Anticipation flies through the air, my ears are greeted by the nostalgic sound of chanting. I’m walking from the train station to the stadium to watch the soccer, it’s the only sport worth attending, the atmosphere, colour and bonding time for me and my brother is fantastic. Before entering the stadium we take a detour to the perfect green park next to the rectangular stadium. We kick the football for a bit whilst the sound of fun and other people playing ambushes us from all sides. With excitement and eagerness I enter the stadium. I just hope this plethora of joy and green heaven remains this way, and is never covered by water nor is it ever a yellow wasteland.

The mighty Yarra

by Sue (teacher)

For most of my adult life I’ve lived near the Yarra and the river pulls at my heart. In my uni days, I lived upstream near Warrandyte and spent a couple of lazy summers swimming and rafting on lilos in the river’s murky flow. Nowadays I live closer to the city with my family but still within walking distance of the river, and I walk there often. Down there, the constant buzz from the freeway seems to fade into the calm powerful pull of the water. During the long drought a few years ago, the water level fell drastically and the adjacent wetlands dried out. The bed of the lagoon cracked into a million dry pieces and the birds and other creatures sought refuge elsewhere. Everything felt dry and dead. When the rain finally came, the river overflowed its banks and flooded the walking path and surrounding bushland and all the living things woke up. Nature drowned the freeway noise. The loudest sounds were the rapid rush of water, croaking frogs, and kookaburras laughing with mirth from the trees.

This article was produced as part of Weather Stations, a global project that places literature and storytelling at the heart of the conversations around climate change. The Wheeler Centre is one of five partners in the project. The students’ work can be found at the Weather Stations blog and at their own Substations blog.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.