Seven organisations have worked together to bring environmental education alive for 170 local students as part of National Water Week and in celebration of 20 years of Waterwatch.
The ‘Creek Connections’ event, which was hosted by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) at Spring Creek, saw the students learn about local water catchments.
The day involved volunteers and staff from Waterwatch, The Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre, the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), Estuarywatch and EcoLogic.
Grade 3 and 4 students from St Therese Primary School, Torquay P-6 College, Lorne Aireys P-12 College and Anglesea Primary School enjoyed everything from ‘water bugs’ sessions and ‘estuary discoveries’ through to a ‘walk and talk’ with Wathaurung Elder Bryon Powell.
GORCC Conservation Officer, Georgina Beale who helped to host a ‘recycle relay’ and conduct planting sessions in threatened Moonah Woodlands said students learnt about keeping water catchments healthy.
“The kids learnt about the interconnectedness of our catchments, rivers, estuary and marine environments and the protection and conservation of our river systems and their dependent eco systems,” she said.
Students worked tirelessly to create water bug costumes out of recycled items for the ‘Terrific Transformer bugs Creative Costume Challenge’ in the lead up to the event.
Winners of the best costume prize received special computer microscopes which will allow their whole class to view water bugs up close on a large screen.
Waterwatch Facilitator, Cate Barham said the diverse range of activities aimed to encourage students to develop an appreciation and understanding of marine, estuarine and freshwater environments and Wathaurung culture.
“Everything we do in our catchment can have an impact on our waterways. If you drop a piece of litter, it will eventually find its way to a waterway and then out to the ocean, where it can have devastating effects on our marine life,” she said.
Waterwatch Victoria recognises that only 22% of Victoria’s rivers are considered in good or excellent condition, highlighting the need for action to protect and maintain the health of our local water catchments.
Ms Barham encourages other community members to become active in protecting and caring for their local water catchments by joining a Landcare, Coastcare or Friends group in their area.
“We are all responsible for caring for our catchments and hopefully others will feel inspired by the enthusiastic efforts of our Creek Connections ambassadors,” she said.