2020 Achievements for 'Our Patch' and 'Adopt a Spot'

693 school students from 7 local primary schools participated in the ‘Our Patch’ Environmental Education Program including 37 excursions and 43 in class lessons. Our Patch delivered focused learning on wetland ecosystems and local native fauna species for Year 3 students learning about local catchments, waterways and landuse. Year 6 catchment tours and Aboriginal cultural sessions were postponed until Term 3 due to COVID 19 school closures and excursion
restrictions and have recently been completed.

Two detailed teachers resource packs were developed for the Year 3 and Year 6 Our Patch Programs during the 2019-20 financial year. The packs provide a one stop shop for resources and links to the curriculum for teachers involved with the ‘Our Patch’ Program.

The ‘Adopt a Spot’ Program continued to deliver a program of on ground conservation and student learning with Year 4 students. 759 students from 8 local schools cared for 9 bushland, coastal and foreshore sites attending 12 excursions and 12 in class lessons during 2019-20. Many 2020 rehabilitation excursions were postponed until Term 3 due to COVID 19 school closures and excursion restrictions and have recently been completed. 2260 native seedlings,
500 pigface cuttings transplanted, 1 load of brush laid and significant hand weeding were completed at these excursions.

256 Year 3 students from across the Margaret River region attended an aquatic themed School’s Bioblitz at Barrett Street Weir on 14 November 2019. Students were treated to a half day of activities from a range of presenters about freshwater fish, food webs in the river and marron, Aboriginal culture and waterways, and animals that live in bushland along the river. The Bioblitz actively engaged students in real science, learning from scientists and experts in their fields about life in and around our local waterways

‘Our Patch’ Environmental Education

 Year 3 Program

The year three children focus on wetlands and fauna with fun and engaging incursions and excursions with specialists. Students initially learnt about the ecosystems that exist in waterways and the role that macro invertebrates play in the food chain. All classes visit their local wetland and assess foreshore vegetation, sampled macro invertebrates and make some hypotheses about water quality.

Students have been delighted to spot macro invertebrates that are sensitive to pollution like Caddis Fly larvae and a good diversity of water bugs. Children have enjoyed the opportunity, through rain, hail and even sunshine to explore and investigate the variety of creatures that live in our catchments. Many catching gilgies and marron for the first time.

Year three classes also have a fun excursion to the Bioblitz event, held at Barrett Street Weir this year with an aquatic theme. The Department of Primary Industries ran sessions on marron and food webs in the river, local wildlife rehabilitators presented sessions on fauna, including an owl specialist. Discover Deadly gave  kids the chance to cuddle a python and learn about snake safety and some knowledgeable and inspiring women from the Undalup Association ran sessions on indigenous culture and waterways.

 Year 6 Program

Year six students participate in the ‘Our Patch’ program, creating a project from their studies at a catchment level. The focus in on learning about natural areas and mixed land uses within their catchment and the values, challenges and solutions in the landscape. Each class tours their local catchment, visiting sites from naturally vegetated through to various forms of agriculture. They work scientifically, collecting date through conducting foreshore assessments, water quality and macroinvertebrates and recording their observations, to assess the health of the water way and local environment. Visiting landholders, they learn firsthand about some of the inspiring practices being put in place to care for the land and waterways. They also learn about the indigenous cultural values of their catchment. All the classes come together in term three to communicate their findings and present their projects.

Project Officer: Michelle Keppel

The ‘Our Patch’ program is funded by the Shire of Augusta Margaret River’s Environmental Management Fund, Cowaramup Lion’s Club, Margaret River Rotary Club, Paskeville Foundation and participating schools.

‘Adopt a Spot’

 Year 4 Program

The year four program gives local kids the opportunity to help rehabilitate a local site, adopted by their school. The aim of the program is to develop long term connections between schools and sites in bushland, along waterways and in coastal areas. Schools are also connected to volunteer friends of reserves groups, with combined efforts caring for sites in the long term and contributing to the restoration of these sites through hand weeding, planting and monitoring of the success of restoration.

Each year, two excursions to each site are conducted with each school, firstly in early winter to undertake rehabilitation work such as planting and brushing and secondly in late spring to assess the success of their work and undertake follow up weeding and clean up activities. Before and after surveys are undertaken with the students to assess their knowledge of the site, its issues and environmental management requirements.

Project Officer: Tracey Muir

‘Adopt a Spot’ is funded by the Shire of Augusta Margaret River’s Environmental Management Fund and the Line in the Sand Philanthropic Group.