Nurturing nature with Junior Landcare grants

Six local schools have received $25,110 as part of the Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants announced this week.

Primary schools at Airly, Boisdale, Fish Creek, Traralgon and Woodside, as well as an early learning centre in Sale were among the 109 successful applicants announced by the Minister for the Environment, The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio earlier this month.

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s CEO, Martin Fuller said there were some exciting projects in the catchment area being developed by the schools.

“It is wonderful to see schools and young people being involved and interested in protecting the environment,” Mr Fuller said.

“Students will be learning about biodiversity, revegetation, erosion and restoration. Several of the projects involve working directly with Landcare and other community groups.

“One of the applications talked about hoping to nurture the eco-warriors of the future. We agree that establishing these connections early and educating young people is vital for the future health of our environment.”

Victorian Schools, kindergartens, childcare centres, Scouts/Guides and youth groups could apply for up to $5,000 through the Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants for projects to engage young Victorians in outdoor, hands-on, on-ground projects, and environmental learning activities. The funded projects will provide both environmental and educational outcomes, as well as health and social benefits.

The Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants are being run by Landcare Australia, as part of its Junior Landcare program, in partnership with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land Water & Planning (DELWP).

Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants

Airly Primary School – $2,228
Students from foundation to grade 6 will study ecosystems and take a site tour of Heart Morass wetland revegetation in Sale. Students will focus on the impact revegetation has had on biodiversity and prepare a fauna and flora audit. At the end of the term, eight regional schools will come together in Loch Sport for a day which will include a water health audit, how to build bee hotels, bird watching, vegetation planting and mammal spotting.

Boisdale Consolidated School – $5,000
This project will engage school children and the wider school community to restore and revegetate Newry Creek at the Newry Tennis and Parkland Reserve. The students will use citizen science to monitor changes to biodiversity at this site, which they will assist with revegetating.

Fish Creek & District Primary School – $4,67
The project involves the revegetation of bird, butterfly and insect attracting trees, under-story and ground cover on the borders of the Buckley Community Farm. It will also incorporate bush food plants and nest boxes to facilitate habitat for bats, birds and gliders. The project involves contributions and partnerships with Landcare, Greening Australia, Fish Creek Community Gardens and local council and provides an opportunity for ongoing maintenance, care, and flora and fauna monitoring for the students and the community.

Gumnuts Early Learning Centre, Sale – $4,110
Together with Bug Blitz, and with the support of Wellington Shire Council, the project aims to improve the biodiversity of the Gumnuts Nature Kinder site at Stead Street Oval. Bird nesting boxes will be installed at the oval with camera equipment to monitor the animal life. Planting in the area will increase the biodiversity and range for nature play for the children. Within the centre, native plantings, plus the construction of bug hotels, a bird bath and lizard rockery will help increase biodiversity.

St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School – $4,900
This project will improve the quality and connectivity of the endangered plains grassy woodland, which runs through the St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School campus in Traralgon, adjacent to Wade Creek and the Latrobe River. This ecosystem has been significantly degraded by urban development, vegetation clearing and the spread of weeds. The team will include representatives from Latrobe City Council, Traralgon Urban Landcare Group and the St Paul’s Environment Sustainability Group. The outcome of this project will see the revegetation of 0.35Ha.

Woodside Primary School – $4,200
A project to raise awareness of the benefits of erosion control along the Bruthen Creek. Water testing at various times of the year at various places to determine the effectiveness of erosion control will also take place. Data from water quality investigations will be entered into the River Detectives Program. The students will also make a film about the current care of the creek from its tributaries to Bass Strait. The film and findings will be presented to the community at an information evening.