Prior knowledge & Lessons:

Students are familiar with Acknowledgement to Country through everyday use.

Students introduced to the work of Dr Phillip B Roos, his book The Unfolding - Living Structures and the idea of being an ecological artist.

Students explore and discuss Dr Phillip B Roos connection to working on Country as a Non-Aboriginal person with a deep respect for Aboriginal ways. 

Students explore the meaning of fire and smoking ceremonies through watching Adrian Brown on Smoking Ceremonies.

Students research the Wadawurrung People and their connection to Geelong & The Bellarine.

Students explore the interconnectedness of nature; trees, river deltas, human blood vessels etc have the same pattern.

Main Lesson: Full Day Excursion to Ocean Grove Nature Reserve

Love for Nature

Materials List

  • Large sheet of artists paper rolled for each student, prepared with student names
  • Grey lead pencils
  • Watercolour pallets
  • Watercolour pencils
  • Black Ink / Fineliners
  • Paint brushes
  • Water from source
  • Mud
  • Any found materials
  • Firewood
  • Flour and water
  • Mixing bowl

Students travel by bus to the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, located on Grubb Rd Ocean Grove.


Upon arrival at the Nature Reserve students disembark from the bus and after placing their back packs at the victors centre gather in the the picnic area for a Welcome to Country, ideally this would be facilitated by a member of the Wadawurrung Aboriginal Corporation and include a smoking ceremony. However to make the lesson more accessible and achievable an Acknowledgement of Country can be performed by the teacher and students.

Kim-Barne Wadawurrung Tabayl - Welcome to Wadawurrung Country

We gather today in this special place to continue our learning together.

We acknowledge the Wadawurrung People of the mighty Kulin Nation the traditional custodians of this land on which we meet. We recognise their continued connection to the land, waterways and community, we pay our respects to their elders; past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

Explain to students that you will be going on a special noticing bush walk to the waterhole in which we will be finding art-making materials along the way, we can only take materials that have already fallen to the ground, we aren’t going to pick anything that is still growing. 

We are all going to take our sheets of paper with us and prepare our paper by creating our background using water or mud from the land we are working on just as Dr Phillip B Roos did in the book we looked at in class. 

Hand out the student's piece of paper; students have free reign over their work if they are disengaged and choose to tear or screw up their paper that is ok, it is part of their authentic artistic experience. However, students are asked to take responsibility for this and to not litter the area. 

Encourage students to walk at a very slow pace and really see and connect with the area they are walking through. Explain that we need to pay particular attention to our senses as we walk and notice the sights, sounds, and smells and we can use a gentle touch to really get a feeling of connection through the bush we are moving through. 

To facilitate this the teacher will walk as a guide and set the pace, following the path through the picnic area to the gate to the Baluk path. Drawing student's attention to the name of the paths throughout the reserve that have been named using Wadawurrung language. 

Not far through the Wallaby proof gate leading to the waterholes, there is a scar tree on the right, ask students to gather around the path close to the tree and ask them if anyone knows why the tree might be significant and how it might have developed the distinctive scar. Lead the students towards the understanding that the tree has had the bark removed to form a shield or possibly a Coolamon, a shallow basket used for carrying things, sometimes babies, then the tree has healed the scar and continued to grow. Explain that the Wadawurrung and all Aboriginal people used the resources in a way that was in tune with the country, that because they considered the trees to be brothers and sisters and worthy of the same treatment and right to be looked after in the same way that they looked after each other in a tribe.

Continue to guide the students to walk with purpose and noticing, take the right-hand track that leads around the waterholes before arriving to maximise the experience and connection to the land.

Taking time to point out particular bird sounds you might hear and plants you might find. Remembering that Australian wildflowers are usually very small and close to the ground, depending on the time of year you might be lucky enough to spot a chocolate lily and have student take turns smelling the delicious chocolatey scent. 

As you arrive at the waterholes it is time for recess so students have their snack and spend 30 minutes free time exploring the location and playing. This is an important step to allow the students to begin to feel a sense of place and connection to the area that will feed into their art making. 


Gather the students together again and explain that you will be spending another hour at the waterholes to begin the artworks. Students are encouraged to use the natural resources in any way they like; this will vary a lot some students might like to submerge their paper in the water, some may like to throw mud at their paper, some may like to use sticks to paint with mud. This part of the lesson is really about students connecting their artwork with the natural world. 

Whilst students are engaged in this process the teacher circulates and reminds students to think about the artwork and the process of making it that they viewed in the lead up to this session. The teacher encourages students to follow heir instincts but also to remember that it will be up to them to carry their artworks back to the picnic area. 

After the first 15 minutes, when all students have at first made some markings with the found materials, basic art materials are provided to the students; grey lead pencils, water colours and fine liners / markers. Students encouraged to use these in conjunction with the found materials and in organic ways that add to the natural materials but not overtake it. 

At the end of this session students are called back together and asked to roll their sheets of paper to carry the back to the picnic area for lunch. Continue the loop walk so that the journey back is shorter and students can walk at a faster pace but asked to still remain respectful of the country they are moving through and continue to collect any fallen leaves, sticks etc that they might like to use to make artwork or grasses to bundle onto sticks to make natural paint brushes. 

When back at the picnic area the students are encouraged to lay out any wet artworks, if they choose to students can use materials around the picnic ground to add to their artwork, for instance charcoal from previous fires is in abundance. 

Lunch Break:

Whilst the students eat their lunch a fire is started in the central fire place; students are reminded of fire protocol, at this location the cement surroundings of the fire place offer a great opportunity to use fire with a very visible barrier about how far students can get to the fire. 


After lunch students are brought back together to gather around the fire and make damper, using flour and water and shown how to twist in around a stick and cook over the fire. 

Gathering around the fire is also a perfect opportunity for reflection, on the excursion and the art making and most importantly how it has helped students foster a greater connection to country or place. 

Artwork are then rolled up, fire extinguished, any rubbish collected and students return to school on the bus.

Subsequent Lessons:

Artworks are finished in the classroom.

Students write a reflection and or a poem on what it means to live on Wadawurrung land and how they want to care for Country in the future.

Artworks and writings are photographed and combined into class book for internal school publication.