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Students find fungi fabulous

Walpole Primary School students Stella Haselhurst (10), Mae Hardiman (10) and Tristan Kirkwood (9) were excited about having their artwork on display. Photo: Anthony Probert.

THE artwork of the entire Walpole Primary School cohort of 40 students will be thrust into the limelight during the school holidays, with an exhibition at the renowned Petrichor Gallery.

The students from kindy to year 6 have spent the past term participating in a school-wide cross-curricular program exploring and discovering everything there is to know about fungi.

One part of the collaborative program between the school, its P&C and the community has involved students producing an artwork of their favourite fungus, which have been framed for the exhibition entitled “Fabulous Fungi”.

And while there is no packing-room prize or people’s choice award up for grabs, students Stella Haselhurst (10), Mae Hardiman (10) and Tristan Kirkwood (9) all agreed it was ‘pretty cool’ to have their artwork on show for the school holiday crowd.

Stella was torn between the use of charcoal and watercolour for her artwork, so she did one of each, using whichever medium best suited the type of mushroom she was depicting.

“It’s pretty exciting,” she said of having her artwork hung on the walls of a gallery.

She said her favourite part of the entire program was going on bushwalks and discovering all the types of fungi.

Exhibition of schools’ fabulous fungi

Like Stella, Mae also enjoyed getting out of the classroom and walking through the bush to see what they could find, with the help of local mycologist Katie Syme, before creating her artwork of a mushroom in charcoal.

Tristan said learning all the different types of fungi and mushrooms sparked his curiosity, and he couldn’t believe his eyes when he got a closer look at some mushrooms under a microscope.

“We looked at the gills with a 400x microscope and I could see these tiny football shapes. It was really interesting,” he said.

Walpole Primary School Principal Chris Cook said one of the benefits of running such a small school, where enrolments have roughly halved in recent years, was getting everyone involved in the same cross-curricula theme.

“One family said they were all dragged out for a walk at night with torches to see some of the fungi that glow in the dark,” she said.

“It’s really good for the school community. We’ve had some help with funding from Amity Health, the Department of Social Services and the P&C for materials, which has been great.”

Walpole Primary School P&C president Gail Collins said the committee was delighted to help with funding and the school community was looking forward to the exhibition, in its first collaboration with Petrichor Gallery.

The artwork will be unveiled at the exhibition’s opening night on Wednesday, July 3 and will continue through to July 21.

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