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Students learn the value of healthy freshwater systems

News article |

A group of 65 students, parents and teachers from 12 Mid North schools explored their local environment at the recent Young Environmental Leaders (YEL) forums held on 10-11 August at White Cliffs Reserve, Koolunga.

The students, attending the regional primary schools, embraced the opportunity to promote new friendships and to discuss land management practises for healthy freshwater systems.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Community Team Leader, Bonnie Maynard, said the YEL Program provided a unique hands-on learning experience for students, connected them to nature and their local spaces, while encouraging inquiry-based learning.

"Water was the theme for these forums and students explored a range of chemical and physical water properties, trialled techniques for sampling macroinvertebrates and tested their identification skills," Ms Maynard said.

"They built surface water catchment basin models and observed the importance of vegetation cover for mitigating impacts of surface water erosion.

"Students also designed a Conservation Park based around a water body, focusing on visitor management, environmental impacts, conservation strategies and recreational activities."

Local property owner Paul Jones gave students a tour of the restoration and rehabilitation works undertaken by local landholders and the Koolunga Development Association, together with the Port Pirie Regional Council at White Cliffs Reserve.

These works aim to reduce environmental degradation resulting from inappropriate camping, 4WD and motorbike access through the old sand mine area.

"The power of community is demonstrated by the work that the local community have done to rehabilitate White Cliffs Reserve," said Mark Vincent, Clare Primary School’s principal.

The final YEL forum and celebration day will be hosted by Brinkworth Primary School in Term 4, where students will present sustainability projects they have been leading in their school grounds.

Funding and support for the Young Environmental Leaders Program is provided by Natural Resources Northern and Yorke.

Schools interested in learning more about the Young Environmental Leaders Program should contact the Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Centre in Clare, on 8841 3444.

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