Eco-encounter program reaches school children

A 10-year ecology project has left a legacy for hundreds of schoolchildren within the Central Tablelands.

The Environmental Trust’s Save Our Species project reached students from Lyndhurst to Black Springs through special school days held every second year.

The project finished its seventh and final year of funding with a special day for 75 primary students from six Central Tablelands schools for World Environment Day, June 5.

Schools attending the day were: Trunkey Creek, Neville, Carcoar, Black Springs, Rockley and Lyndhurst public schools.

The event wrapped up an Environmental Trust-funded program overseen by the Central Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS).

LLS Senior Land Services Officer for Natural Resource Management Katie McPherson said the event was originally due to be held at the Abercrombie River, habitat of the endangered Booroolong Frog and Macquarie Perch.

“But the weather had other ideas, so we shifted to Trunkey Creek Public School,” she said.

Children attending the day learned about everything from soils, biosecurity, animal rescues, Aboriginal inclusion and endangered species to an ecological-treasure hunt.

They discovered how to identify different species by examining skull shape and size, they considered controlling feral animals and used a water cycle model to understand how chemicals and other pollutants contaminate water sources.

One of the speakers, Thomas Staff from Bathurst Regional Council, astonished the young guests by identifying different species of bird from their calls and then replicating each one.

“The kids had a fabulous day,” Trunkey Creek Principal Sharyn Codgell said.

“They were genuinely interested in the natural environment and loved all the hands-on activities.

“The Aboriginal inclusion workshop was a favourite with the younger students and the ecological treasure hunt was a hit with the older students.”

Environmental experts speaking on the day came from ANU Sustainable Farms, Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES), Bathurst Regional Council, Department of Planning and Environment and Central Tablelands Local Land Services

“It was a brilliant day of environmental education, with content provided by knowledgeable people working in the field,” Ms Codgell said.

“The teachers who attended also appreciated the professional instruction that was provided; it will enhance their own understandings of environmental issues.”

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