The Forest High School is determined to reclaim its sports oval from long grass.

Constant rain over the past few months has left many Northern Beaches lawns unmown. With saturated soil, attempts to mow on sodden ground has resulted in bogged mowers and damage to lawns.

This has proven especially true on sports fields and at schools, where long grass has further prevented the ground from fully drying out before the next rain.

With the use of ride-on mowers impossible, and the grass too long to be tamed with a normal lawn mower, Principal of The Forest High School Nathan Lawler has looked into the history books, and is ‘scything’ the grass, albeit with modern tools, to return the school oval to use for students.

Forest High School Working Bee

Mr Lawler came in over the school holidays, and was joined by members of the school’s P&C (Parents and Citizens Association) to cut the overgrown grass using whipper snippers.

Nathan Lawler

Nathan Lawler

“Over the holidays I came in with the Grounds Assistant and we started whipper snipping but we couldn’t get through it. I only started as Relieving Principal at the beginning of the year. My main focus at the moment is bringing parents closer and creating a sense of community, so I spoke to the P&C President.

“She put a call out, and I wrote about it in my weekly update. We’ve had a really good response, parents turning out with their whipper snippers. We’re going to go again this Saturday, but there were some parents that may not have come because they didn’t own a whipper snipper, so we’ve actually hired some for this Saturday.

“We need just as many people on rakes as well, and then we’ll be able to reclaim our oval. [Northern Beaches] Council normally mow it, but they were getting bogged down, so they just haven’t had a chance to do what we’re doing. It’s pretty labour-intensive.

“The oval has been out of action all term, we would normally use it every single day. When I first started, we’d have games of touch football happening during break times, and we’re just trying to get that back,” explained Principal Lawler.

The Forest High School Working Bee

In the spirit of many hands make light work, Mr Lawler has scheduled another Working Bee from 1.00pm – 3.00pm this Saturday, 21 May, and is asking members of the school community, and the wider community, to come and help them claim back the school oval.

“We had about 20 parents and we’re hoping for more this time. I don’t think the school had run a Working Bee in six or seven years, at least. When I spoke to the P&C President, she couldn’t recall one.

“I think Working Bees for High Schools are kind of rare. They’re more of a Primary School thing, but I like that Primary School model in terms of parents coming in and feeling like they’re contributing. I’ve put a call out to the kids as well, I’m hoping that we get a number of them turning up and being part of the effort,” said Principal Lawler.

Encouraged by the support and productivity of the first Working Bee, Principal Lawler says he is determined to use the oval this term, with staff and students looking forward to PE lessons and sporting activities resuming.

If you can help The Forest High School reclaim their oval, Principal Lawler is asking people to BYO whipper snipper if you have one, and to preferably register in advance to let the school know how many people may be coming.

The Forest High School is located at 135 Frenchs Forest Road, Frenchs Forest.

Images: The Forest High School

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