Environmental education benefits community

Lorne and Aireys Inlet P-12 College students have partnered with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) to regenerate the Erskine Paddock area in Lorne as part of the Coast Guardians Program – a free educational program, which aims to increase environmental awareness in local schools.

The year 9 students have spent the winter months replanting and mulching the area at Erskine Paddock to help ease safety concerns at the popular Lorne play area.

Erskine Paddock is a prominent local site which has previously been overgrown with environmental weeds.

Students revegetated the site with indigenous low lying shrubs and grasses after the removal of invasive coastal tea tree from the area.

GORCC Education Activity Leader Hilary Bouma said the hands on approach to environmental education helped students appreciate and learn about the importance of coastal protection.

“The Coast Guardians Program is a fantastic opportunity for students to develop a sense of environmental stewardship in their local community.

Students have been working on a variety of highly utilised and visual locations across Lorne learning about the different coastal ecosystems

Lorne Aireys Inlet P-12 Year 9 Inquiry Based Learning teacher Tony Speed said the conservation work with GORCC provided the students with the opportunity to give back to their community.

“It’s good for them and its’s also fantastic for the Lorne community. This program allows students to combine their education with community service and give back to their environment,” he said.

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said replacing the coastal tea tree with indigenous shrubs and grasses will help to enhance the local biodiversity in the area.

“Indigenous flora attracts many of our wonderful native animals to the area, including the near threatened Rufous Bristlebird.

“The student’s contribution will improve coastal habitats whilst also enhance popular recreational locations for the whole community,” she said.

The 2016-17 GORCC budget includes significant increases to GORCC’s environmental education team to help support the next generation of coastal protectors.

GORCC also offers free environmental education activities to schools, groups and individuals of all ages to promote environmental stewardship in local communities. To find out how you can get involved visit our website for more information.

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