Future generations caring for our coast


250 local students recently joined forces with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and Fisheries Victoria to plant more than 800 indigenous plants as part of an annual event with a long history.

Year 3-4 Students from Torquay College were not afraid to get their hands dirty during the Coastal Stewards Program.
Year 3-4 Students from Torquay College were not afraid to get their hands dirty during the Coastal Stewards Program.

The Coastal Stewards Program (previously known as Dune Edu-Action) has been running for more than 10 years and has enabled thousands of students to make a positive contribution to our coastal environment.

The program aims to teach students to take ownership of their local environment and create generational change.

Phil Armato, Manager at the Queenscliff Marine and Fresh Water Discovery Centre believes it’s crucial to educate future generations to care for our precious coast.

“The program empowers the children to make a difference in their community, and that’s a big deal when you’re only in grade 3 or 4.

“These children are our future leaders, parents and voters. It will pay-off in the long run that they care for their coast,” Mr. Armato said.

Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale show students how to best protect indigenous plants by surrounding their roots with water crystals.
Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale show students Tom (left) and Finn how to best protect indigenous plants by surrounding their roots with water crystals.

This year’s program saw grade 3 and 4 students from Torquay College plant indigenous flora along Fisherman’s Beach in 2 hours sessions over three days.

Torquay College teacher Dianne Dendle said the program provides an opportunity for the kids to put their classroom learning into practice.

“We have been learning about biodiversity, sustainability, recycling and marine parks, including how humans impact on these issues.

“Coming out here and getting our hands dirty means what the children have been learning in class becomes relevant and is put into practice,” Ms. Dendle said.

From left to right: Amelia, Ava, and Tahlia from Torquay College enjoy the tree-planting day as part of the Coastal Stewards Program.
From left to right: Amelia, Ava, and Tahlia from Torquay College enjoy the tree-planting day as part of the Coastal Stewards Program.

Ms Dendle also believes the program plays an important part in teaching students to appreciate and care for the environment they live in.

“It is a hands-on activity which means the children can see how the area has been affected, grow a sense of respect and ownership for the environment and make a difference in the community,” she said.

GORCC contributed indigenous plants and gardening equipment to the program, which Conservation Supervisor, Georgina Beale said was a great success.

“The students made a fantastic impact on our coastal environment by planting approximately 800 indigenous plants as well as learning how to protect their local environment.”

Phil Armetto will plant existing shrubbery around the young, indigenous plants to help protect them as they grow.
Phil Armato will plant existing shrubbery around the young, indigenous plants to help protect them as they grow.

For more information about environmental education activities on our coast click here.

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