Newborough East Primary School has won an inaugural gardening award in an event held by Latrobe City Council.
As a part of Council’s Virtual Garden Celebration in 2020, the inaugural John Ruyg Encouragement Award was presented to the gardeners who shared John’s passion for gardens, the environment and community connection.
John was a well-respected arborist who previously worked at Latrobe City Council before starting his business, JR’s Treemendous Landscapes, in 2004. A resident of Callignee, his family was one of 247 who lost their homes in the Churchill Black Saturday bushfire on 7 February 2009. After the bushfire, he worked tirelessly in support of the community to assess dangerous trees and encourage revegetation, under an initiative funded by Latrobe City Council.
The school received the John Ruyg Encouragement Award in recognition of the school creating a wonderful space and programs to encourage children to enjoy gardening.
Students have created artwork features that complement the uniqueness of each garden around the school. The school’s gardening activity is supported by community volunteers and teachers.
“John was renowned across Latrobe City for his passion for trees and gardening, and he would have been so proud to see this award, named in his honour, presented to the school community of Newborough East Primary School,” Latrobe City Council Mayor, Cr Sharon Gibson said.
“The award is fantastic recognition of the hard work the school community – teachers, students and the volunteers - have put into not only enhancing the school grounds but building a community and creating connections.”
On Friday 18 December 2020, John’s wife and children, Renee Paulet, and Josie and Bowie Ruyg attended the school to present the award, which included a $300 gift card to Van Berkel Wholesale Nursery for the purchase of supplies and plants.
“Congratulations on what you have achieved so far in creating not only a visually pleasing and inviting garden, but also in reaping the physical and emotional benefits that accrue from time in nature,” Renee said.
“We hope this award inspires the school community to keep progressing in beautifying your school grounds.”
School principal Julie Skee said receiving the award was “an absolute honour”.
“Knowing how passionate John Ruyg was about gardens and gardening, this award is extremely special. It was a privilege to receive this award from John’s own family who recognised the passion behind our gardens. We would sincerely like to thank Renee, Josie and Bowie for this award,” she said.
Newborough East Primary School received the John Ruyg Encouragement Award as part of Latrobe City Council’s Virtual Garden Celebration. At the presentation were school representatives Paul Fry, Lahni Xerri, Xander Lindsay, Viv Boskma, Steve Gray and Collin Morris; John’s family Renee Paulet, Josie Ruyg and Bowie Ruyg; Latrobe City Council Mayor, Cr Sharon Gibson; and the school’s Bill Pace.