Organised by the father’s group, The Deanmore Dads, the inaugural Dads’ Dawdle saw more than 100 students and family members exploring native flora and fauna, led by expert volunteers from the Friends of Trigg Bushland.
“From my perspective I’d say the highlight would have to be just seeing how many people turned up and the atmosphere and the mixture of the group,” Dan Rogers, Deanmore Primary teacher and member of dads group says.
“We had brothers and sisters, push chairs, prams, dogs, grandmas, granddads, aunts, uncles, older brothers and older sisters.”
The idea of the event was for locals to get to know bushland, which borders the school.
“So Trigg Bushland would be an area where the kids at school would go for walks quite regularly, especially those ... that have got dogs.
“It’s a very popular walking area, but they probably wouldn’t know specifically about the animals that live there and they wouldn’t have specifically known about all of the plants,” Rogers says those who attended were split into small groups and given a quiz to complete.
The groups learned about Huntsman spiders shedding their skin, invasive plants and the history behind how they arrived in Western Australia.
They also learned about some vulnerable and rare plants on the reserve, including Rottnest pines, banksia and tuarts, which all sustain local bird life.
While the dawdle took place on a weekend, Rogers says the learning could be brought straight back to school the following Monday.
“...it links straight into all of the curriculum and from the school’s perspective, doing something like that, it ticks just about every box under the sun,” he says.
“Because we’ve involved the community, the kids have got out and about, and they’ve been able to bring back to school new knowledge about how the bushland’s kept sustainable by the volunteers.”
The Deanmore Dads was founded in 2015, and Rogers says the group has been as asset to the school and wider community.
“It has worked brilliantly for our community,” he says.
“So our community would have a lot of FIFO (fly in fly out) dads, so a lot of dads who perhaps don’t get a chance to get involved at school as often as they would like.
“So we’ve had some weekend activities where those dads have been able to be included.”
For the high portion who have migrated to work in mining, oil or gas industries, the group offers a vital point of connection.
“When we initially sort of set up the group, one of the things that came out was that a lot of the dads in our community don’t really have a very strong male support network in Perth, because they’ve left their friends overseas.”
For children who may lack a strong male influence in their lives, the dads can play their part.
“So although the Deanmore Dads have organised activities, it’s been inclusive of everybody,” Rogers says.
“We’ve had grandmas, mums, aunts, uncles, older brothers and sisters coming down ... there’s been good male role modelling for those kids who perhaps miss out on that sort of thing.”