Healthy & Inclusive Places

Red Room Poetry

In May 2022, Landcom launched the first workshop with Red Room Poetry supporting their ‘Poem Forest’ program.

The program is a collaboration between Red Room Poetry and the Australian Botanical Gardens, supported by Landcom. The first program ran with Eagle Vale High School which is adjacent to Landcom’s Hillcroft community at Claymore.

The Poem Forest program aims to raise awareness and connect young people to culture through education and connecting them to Country. The workshop commenced with a traditional Smoking Ceremony and discussion on culture, and caring for Country with local Elders, poets, artists and musicians including Aunty Verna Barker and Lyndsay Urquhart. Students then formed groups to listen to poetry in language and sing to Country while writing their own poems. For every poem received, a tree is planted in the Gardens to help heal critically endangered habitats and create a ‘poem forest’ for future generations. 

Red Room measure the impact of the program through pre and post program self-evaluation across a series of dimensions. Students responded positively with high scores on a sliding scale around enhancing creativity, connection to nature and a sense of belonging. Students were also invited to reflect on how they felt towards poetry before and after the experience, with all students experiencing a shift in positivity and attitude towards poetry after the sessions. One student reflected with an increased appreciation for nature stating, “It made me see a whole new side of nature and I’ve seen why Aboriginal people truly wanted to protect it.”


Image: Poem Forest Workshop with students from Eagle Vale High School.