As concern for the future of our environment and unique biodiversity continues to grow it's increasingly important we find ways to encourage young people to be interested, informed and involved.
The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust’s (BCT) Conservation Champions education program meets this challenge head on by giving regional students the opportunity to learn about the importance of biodiversity conservation.
It all starts by getting them out of the classroom and onto the land.
Students from Berridale Public School recently teamed up with landholders Martin and Elizabeth Timmins in the Snowy Monaro and spent two days on their property, Woodhouse, learning about the area’s endemic flora and fauna.
Hands-on learning experience
The grade 4-6 students learned about local species by walking around the 890-hectare site observing birds, identifying ground cover, planting native vegetation, and hearing from Ngarigo woman Gail about cultural land management practices.
Woodhouse has a funded conservation agreement under the BCT’s 2018 Monaro Grasslands tender. The land is dominated by high quality poa tussock and kangaroo grasses and is an area that contains unique biodiversity found nowhere else in Australia.
Elizabeth Timmins shared her love of the land with the Berridale Public School students telling them the more she finds out about the biodiversity on Woodhouse the more she understands how beautiful, interesting and important it is.
“We hope you will also realise how necessary it is to protect native grasslands on properties like this so we can all work to protect the different native animals that call these grasslands home. By conserving important plant biodiversity we can also protect animal biodiversity,” she said.
Student authors write about their lessons
On-country learning is central to the success of the BCT’s Conservation Champions education program. Hands-on experience in nature helps students develop an understanding of the way species interact in an ecosystem.
BCT Principal Project Officer Donna Hazell spoke to the students about the importance of protecting biodiversity and how landholders, like the Timmins’, can make a difference by identifying areas of special ecological value and changing their farming practices to safeguard habitat.
The visits to Woodhouse were supported by curriculum-linked class lessons back at school. At the end of the program students created a book documenting their involvement in the Conservation Champions program.
About Conservation Champions
Conservation Champions is a free education project run by the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust and Petaurus Education Group. It aims to connect students to a landholder promoting biodiversity conservation, scientific experts in biodiversity and sustainable agricultural practice, and local First Nations leaders.