Work Experience – Eadie Pfahlert

Eadie at CERES

Eadie at CERES

Hi, my name is Eadie and out of all of the places that someone could do their year 10 work experience, I was lucky enough to do mine at CERES. At my school, we get one week of our high school lives for work experience and I am truly grateful that I landed at CERES. Coming all the way from Beechworth in North East Victoria to live and experience working life in the city – gosh how grown up was I?

When asked what areas of CERES I wanted to work in, I said I wanted to experience it all. So I ended up spending time getting involved in website design, propagation, the production line at Fair Food, primary school environmental education, administration and human relations.

While these areas require diverse skills, what I really learnt was that there is one thread that binds: People learning, connecting, supporting, discovering and for many falling in love with the earth. CERES gives so many practical ways to be part of and contribute to the environment that sustains us.

Here’s how the week played out.

Monday started with a site tour, hosted by the big boss Cinnamon and gee whiz, did I feel special.  Then onto the Grocery, sorting, stacking and plenty of sweeping to keep the place spick and span. That afternoon I sat in on a website design meeting learning about all of the planning that goes into briefing the designers before the thing can be built.

Tuesday was a day of propagation. The regular volunteers, a few extras and I all planted seeds and labelled freshly germinated plants ready to be sold in the Nursery. Whilst I only spent one day in propagation, some volunteers had been coming back for years, whether it was to improve their skills, support the community or just the pure meditative activity of growing life. I heard about the theory where chlorophyll emits healthy light and supposedly gives out happiness, which made sense as the act of gardening makes many people feel content. It was highly satisfying knowing that the seed you plant will one day end up producing food in someone’s garden for years to come.

Wednesday was a day in Preston at Fair Food. Navigating transport and the timetables proved just as challenging as the work itself. There’s so much to get your head around when you’re from the bush and going places for the first time on your own! At Fair Food I worked alongside the team to fill food orders ready for delivery. I loved being part of the crew and witnessing the sense of connection between employees. From the big bowl of curry shared at morning tea time to the competitive games of ping pong at lunch, everyone enjoyed each other’s company whilst getting the job done. It was fascinating hearing multiple languages in the workplace and the friendliness I experienced.

On Thursday I had the pleasure of sitting in on some environmental and sustainable living education classes at CERES run for year 5-6 students. One of my favourite classes involved a game of giant Jenga. On the top of the Jenga set there was positioned a city and on each block was a biotic or abiotic element of the ecosystem. The students were asked to read out a detrimental environmental occurrence and pull out the relevant block accordingly. This represented how the ecosystem works together to support life. When the Jenga tower finally fell over and the city tumbled, all of the kids rolled around on the ground playing dead and yelling that it was the end of the world. It would have been a spectacle for any onlookers. I loved seeing the kids so enthusiastic about the environment and wished I had done more interactive learning at my school.

Honey Lane Farm

Honey Lane Farm

Already Friday – probably one of my favourite days. I spent the morning in the Visitor Centre, a beautiful and earthy passive solar design, drenched in morning sun and a great place to help out with the end of year stocktake. I discovered a new addiction by morning tea time, having experienced the chocolate coated bananas from the Grocery store. Far out they’re good, I even ended up buying some for my brother and he loved them. I spent my afternoon in Human Relations. We had to sack a few slackers… just joking, was wondering if you’re still reading! I helped write a job description for a new appointment. As a student, it is difficult to experience the reality of someone’s job, so I enjoyed  HR because I felt I really got a sense of what the job entailed. I also was enthused and motivated by writing content that would soon be published.

CERES was an inspiring place to do my work experience. Whether it was toddlers playing in the sandpit, or school groups playing around next to the pond for what seemed like hours, there’s a brilliant balance of learning and fun.

It helped me realise that many city kids do not get the same exposure to the natural environment that my friends and I take for granted living in the country. This makes CERES even more special in the unique role it plays so close to the city. A sanctuary in a concrete jungle comes to mind!

Thanks to all the staff at CERES who patiently and generously gave me their time and shared their knowledge. I feel very grateful and look forward to staying involved.

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