Corowa South Public School recently received a unique gift that will continue to grow within the school grounds long after all the current students graduate.
Dorothy Ambrose, who has been a long-standing supporter of the school where her own four children attended, donated a rare Wollemi Pine.
The pine is an endangered species and one of the world’s oldest and rarest plants dating back to the time of the dinosaurs.
It was known from fossil records and presumed extinct until the pine was discovered in 1994 by a bushwalker in the Wollemi National Park just outside Sydney.
With less than 100 adult Wollemi Pines known to exist in the wild, the pine is now the focus of extensive research to safeguard its survival.
The pine can grow up to 40 metres high with a trunk diameter of more than one metre.
It was planted at the school several weeks ago and has taken well to its new home with new shoots already evident.
Dorothy visited the school last week during a barbecue the school hosted to thank the many parents, families and community members for their support throughout the school year.
The school invited Dorothy in particular to publicly thank her.
The visit also allowed Dorothy to inspect the new rest area created with the special pine.
“The pine actually belonged to my grandson who lives in Byron Bay,” Dorothy told the Free Press.
“I kept asking him to come and get it, but he would never get around to it and I was tired of moving it into bigger pots as it grew bigger.”
Dorothy wanted the pine in the ground and for it to be enjoyed.
“It’s great to see it planted in the ground and they have chosen a great spot for it to grow,” she said.
Dorothy has been involved in the local Landcare group and environmental workshops over the years and has enjoyed sharing her environmental voice with lots of children and adults around the area.
She was inspired to work with the environment to give back what had been taken away.
One of her many experiences included protesting against a group of people wanting to grow tobacco at Morris Park in South Corowa.
Interestingly, Dorothy’s children followed in her environmental footsteps when they planted pine trees in the Corowa South Public School grounds many years ago.
Principal Karen Kissell said after researching the Wollemi Pine she discovered that Wollemi is an Aboriginal word meaning “look around you, keep your eyes open and watch out”.
Karen was it was very fitting giving that students had recently been undertaking Aboriginal studies.
“We have planted the pine near a bench seat which will be a great place for students, staff and visitors to sit, relax and contemplate things as the pine grows,” she said.
“It’s an attractive plant and will grow well here, they can survive temperatures from -5 to 45 degrees.”
“The school is very thankful to Dorothy and the rest of our supporters of the school including parents, families and community members who have made contributions throughout the year.”