All News

Chris Chapman, a senior history and geography teacher at St Peters Indooroopilly, greets a group of eager Year 1s and students from the Environmental Club. They have heeded his call to plant more trees in a section of the Barry Jahnke rainforest, designated for regeneration. 

Although they may not know it, these students are carrying on an important legacy that began five decades ago when the rainforest was set aside in 1969 as a green space. There has been a quiet but significant green movement taking place ever since.

A small group of dedicated and passionate staff have volunteered their time and talents to tend St Peters’ hidden gem, nestled between the 25m pool and the Girls Boarding precinct.

In his spare time, Chris Chapman has been one of those volunteers who has faithfully nurtured the rainforest, named in honour of the man who started it all, past St Peters science teacher, Barry Jahnke. 

What has ensued over the years is an ecological treasure providing St Peters’ students with a unique, natural environment in an urban school setting. 

Chris is adamant it’s good for students to immerse themselves in nature and get their hands into the dirt and soil.

“The rainforest provides a wonderful opportunity for children to be in there under the trees, to see mossy logs…to touch and feel and smell and be among beautiful things.”

“It’s a terrific resource,” Chris said. “I don’t know of any other school that has anything remotely like this.”

Chris works collaboratively with staff from all sub schools and the Environmental Club, to ensure the rainforest has peripheral uses for teachers and students. 
“At the request of teachers, I often take kids on tours,” Chris explained. “The class might be studying mini beasts or they want to look at different forest adaptions or how a forest is structured,” Chris said.

Chris recalled many examples of how staff and students use the rainforest to complement their units of study.

“The Junior High and Senior School really value the forest for geography and biology study units. The teachers can take students there for species identification,” Chris explained.

There are many other examples. 

“English teachers take students there for creative writing… Study of Religion teachers may take students to discuss God’s beautiful creation… Drama students use it as a performance rehearsal space and Photography students have used it for light and shade studies,” Chris said. 

“I take students there for Year 10 History. They do a World War II unit and we look at the Kokoda campaign. We re-enact what it might have been like for the soldiers crawling through the jungle floor,” Chris explained.

“When the students visit the rainforest, I liken it to a living, growing church, where God’s power is all around, in every leaf and every tree,” Chris explained.

“I want kids to think about how we are part of this beautiful, natural world.”