Schools Engagement Program

Our future land managers are extremely important to Local Land Services. Through our school engagement program, we are growing our school students to become land management champions.

Our valued partnership with Hunter Water and many other organisations enables us to provide interactive educational opportunities for both primary and high school students. Content is localised for your school, so students are investigating local issues and identifying solutions.

“Our students have learnt critical skills about working together to care for our natural environment and preserve our natural resources. Thanks to this program, our students are beginning a lifelong journey towards being biodiversity warriors.” - Kristen Jones, teacher, St Brigid’s Primary School Raymond Terrace

Check out our school’s program video to find out more.

Learning about landcare

Themes

Our school programs are based around the following themes.

Water quality and catchment health – agricultural and stormwater runoff, riparian vegetation, water bug surveys, water testing, importance of protecting water quality and habitats for protection of biodiversity including local threatened species such as the Hunter River turtle.

Water bug testDragonfly Nymph

Pest animals – vertebrate pests found in the Hunter, including foxes, rabbits, wild dogs, feral deer and feral pigs and their impacts on agriculture and the environment.

Jane in the classroom

Cultural burning – how cultural burning was used by Aboriginal people and its role in protecting the landscape and biodiversity, as well as to help in the prevention of wildfires.

Following on from one of these presentations, your students may have the opportunity to be involved in writing and illustrating their own story. Stories are published and copies are provided to the school and put online.

See some examples of stories written by local Hunter students.

Activities you can participate in

All of the activities listed below can be provided at your school, or at a local suitable site, for example next to a waterway. All are FREE!

Water Quality and Catchment Health

  • Protect our local river (based on the waterway located close to your school) interactive presentation.
  • Water bug survey – students collect samples of water bugs from the local waterway and identify and count the bugs found. The number and type of bugs found provides an indication of the health of the waterway. If undertaken at school, waterbugs are pre-collected by the School Engagement Officer.
  • Water quality testing – students test the waterway for basic parameters such as pH, turbidity, salinity and available phosphate. Linkages are made between water pollutants and their impacts on waterway health. If undertaken at school, water samples are pre-collected by the School Engagement Officer.
  • Catch the Catchment Criminals – students test and analyse a number of different water samples from a fictitious catchment and match the samples with catchment ‘polluters’.
  • Riparian vegetation guided meditation lesson – students participate in a guided meditation based around a riparian zone, followed by a lesson on the importance of riparian zones for water quality and biodiversity.
  • Race down the river giant game (suitable for max 8 students per game) – a large 6m x 4m sized game based on snakes and ladders with simple ‘good’ and ‘bad’ actions we can take to protect river water quality.

Water bug lesson

Pest animals

  • In class presentation on pest animal species found in the local area, including their impacts agriculture, native animals and local threatened species.
  • Who’s Poo is Who? Students identify native and pest animal scats in resin.
  • Who’s living in my school? A unit of work whereby schools borrow a game camera from Hunter LLS to monitor native and pest animals visiting their school playground. Students then analyse the information and come up with ways to protect and attract native animals to their playground
  • Fast and the Furriest game – based on the concept of Red Rover Cross over, students learn about the fight for survival many threatened species experience due to the impacts of pest animals and humans. Requires a large playground area.

Outdoor school lesson

Cultural burning immersive experience – offered during NAIDOC week

Cultural burning is an ancient indigenous practice used to heal the land, returning the country back to health. Cultural burning can also be used today by land managers and farmers to assist them to manage their land and help protect the environment and property from wildfire.

Students are provided with a brief, introductory presentation on the topic of cultural burns, including how and why they were undertaken by Aboriginal people and how they can be used as a land management practice today.  Students then ‘act out’ a cultural burn to immerse themselves in the experience and obtain an appreciation of how cultural burns were used to heal the land.

Sustainability Days

Students rotate in groups (max 30 students per group) around a range of activities with a sustainability focus. Examples of activities may include a water bug survey, The Fast and the Furriest game, who’s poo is who?, cultural burn immersive experience and tree planting.

Catchment Crawls

Schools may be invited to participate in a tour of their local catchment, consisting of stops at various locations to undertake water testing, water bug surveys and other activities.

Water bug search

Tree Planting

Work alongside Local Land Services volunteers to help restore native habitat by planting trees. Located on Ash Island Hexham or at other sites depending on availability. All equipment and technical advice provided.

Marine debris removal (high school students only, number restrictions)

Picking up rubbish from the mangroves in the Hunter estuary. All personal protective equipment (PPE) provided. This involves wearing suit legs, booties, hi-vis shirts and life jackets, and boarding a barge on the Hunter River.

Students and trip leaders are dropped off at various locations, inaccessible by road, to collect rubbish that washes up into the mangroves with the tides.

Participants enjoy the thrill of getting muddy and the satisfaction of filing up a barge full of rubbish. Complies with all NSW Government and Department of Education WHS requirements.

Resources

Enviro Stories stories about local land issues written by local students. Read Enviro Stories now.

Envirostories covers

Adventures at Your place -  The Adventures at Your place activity series encourages kids to get outside and explore their own backyard or local bushland/waterway. Also suitable for the school playground or in class.

Water bugs across the catchment - Across the catchment the water quality can be Good, Fair and Poor. Different water bugs live in these conditions and are represented in this illustration.

Who’s living in my school? In this unit of work, students monitor native and pest animals visiting their school playground using a game camera borrowed from Hunter LLS. Students then analyse the information and come up with ways to protect and attract native animals to their playground. Available early 2022.

Guided riparian zone meditation - Combining both a ‘sense of place’ and mindfulness, this guided meditation is based around a riparian zone and will help students obtain an appreciation of the importance of this special area for biodiversity and water quality. Listen now.

Community small grants

Schools are encouraged to apply for our Community Small Grants which can be submitted at any time. The Community Small Grants program aims to achieve:

  • increased skills and knowledge of participants to assist with local networking, educational activities and land management and restoration events: and
  • increased community participation within local networks, educational activities and land management and restoration events.

Maximum $2000 per Community Small Grant. Download the guidelines and the application form.

Links to other websites – our partners

Hunter Water 

NSW Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment 

National Waterbug blitz 

Kreative Koalas 

Archibull Prize 

Birdlife 

Our Bushland for Kids 

Koala smart 

DPI School Resources

Want to get involved? Complete our Expression of Interest form

Our future land managers are extremely important to Local Land Services. Through our school engagement program, we are growing our school students to become land management champions.

Our valued partnership with Hunter Water and many other organisations enables us to provide interactive educational opportunities for both primary and high school students.

Complete your details in this form if you are interested in participating in this program.

Join our newsletter

Sign up to our Schools Program newsletter – keep up to date with new resources, upcoming activities and events and funding opportunities

The newsletters will be sent via email about once every three months or as new resources/opportunities become available and will be brief and informative! You will be able to unsubscribe at any time.

Join our newsletter now.

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