Welcome to our final ‘A Taste of RCLC’ for 2019.
This month we take a look the Cheeky Chook Crew, a willing band of local volunteers who care for the hens living at Burnley Backyard. Individuals, families and community groups visit the chooks on a rotating roster to see if any eggs have been laid, clean out the chook shed and leave food and clean water. It’s a great experience for adults and especially children, who get to learn that eggs don’t just come from the supermarket shelf. As well as caring for the chooks, it’s very relaxing to just sit and watch them as well as giving them a gentle cuddle from time to time. In the words of crew-member Cate, who looks in on the chooks one evening every week, ‘I love talking to the chooks and hearing them cluck right back at me. If they are lucky I might tell them a story or two!’
Cate has been involved with the program for approximately a year, and really looks forward to visiting every week as an opportunity to be a part of and give back to, her local community. She also enjoys being able to experience nature while living in an urban environment. One of her activities during a session with the chooks is to clean the enclosure of food scraps to keep any unwanted night-time pests away. Being with the chooks also provides Cate with fond memories of her childhood when urban backyard chooks were popular and were kept by a few of her neighbours in Kew.
One of the community groups involved with the Cheeky Chook Crew is Bridge Road Early Learning Centre, a long day-care service that also runs a government-funded kindergarten program. They have been a part of the crew for a couple of months, and began this partnership in order to provide the children with an opportunity to engage with the local community. The visits to Burnley Backyard also complement their educational activities by teaching the children how to care for the environment and by demonstrating a way in which they can contribute to a sustainable future.
Nikkita, who is the Kindergarten teacher at the Centre explains how the children’s involvement in this program also aims to teach them to take responsibility and care for the chickens by feeding them, replacing their water and tidying their home. It also helps to develop the children’s awareness and appreciation about where food comes from, by collecting the eggs and cooking healthy meals with the organic fresh produce.
So, thank you Cate, Nikkita and all of our fabulous Cheeky Chook Crew for helping to maintain a program which provides several community benefits and some valuable educational opportunities. Cate assures us that the name is a well-deserved one as not only are some of the crew cheeky 😀, the chooks are as well. When she opens the gate, a couple will often try to escape in order to sample some of the other delights Burnley and Richmond have to offer…
If you would like to join our Cheeky Chook Crew, please contact Oren, our Community and Programs Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org, 9428 9901