An innovative program of learning for local students has been launched in a partnership between seven local schools as part of the ‘Love our Lakes’ campaign.
The first project of its kind will see students from the Nagle College Year 9 “Eco-Warriors” as young mentors, where they pass their environmental knowledge to younger students from local primary schools.
Commencing this week on the shores of Lake King at Eagle Point, the Nagle College students ran four hands-on sessions with Year 5/6 students from Paynesville Primary School and Gippsland Grammar (Bairnsdale Campus) to learn about the ecology and protection of the Gippsland Lakes.
Students assessed the health of the Lakes by collecting water samples to measure temperature and turbidity, studied invertebrates and learnt about the importance of sea grass in the lakes food chain.
They also took home valuable lessons about the need to reduce litter.
Nagle College science teacher, Andrea Savage said that the sessions, which put the older students in the role of scientists passing on their experience and skills to the younger students, are an extremely effective way of learning for all participants.
“The program delivers key outcomes in science, physical, personal and social learning and inter-disciplinary learning in a fun and supportive environment”, Ms Savage said.
Other schools looking forward to involvement in the program are Bairnsdale Christian School, Eagle Point Primary, Lucknow Primary and Bairnsdale 754.
About 175 students will be involved.
The program brings together partnerships established through the Gippsland Lakes Environment Fund, as part of the State Government’s Regional Growth Fund. It is part of the ‘Love our Lakes’ campaign initiated by the Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Committee (GLMAC).
GLMAC Executive Officer, Martin Richardson said it is a priority to build the community’s knowledge and involvement in looking after the Lakes. “There is no better place to direct our attention than the young people of the area, who will not only gain educational benefits, but will also be the scientists and decision-makers of the future”, he said.
“With the support of Nagle College, who have great experience visiting and studying the Lakes, and the involvement of the six primary schools and East Gippsland Shire Council youth officer Amelie Boucher, we have a local learning experience that fits the school curriculum and can be shared across the wider youth community”, Mr Richardson said.
The program is being run alongside the ‘Love our lakes Enviro-Stories’ project which will see ten primary schools throughout Gippsland publish school readers that capture the students experiences and feelings about the Gippsland Lakes.
Mr Richardson said there are plans to deliver more school and community–based programs with the aim of building support and involvement in protecting the Lakes environment, which in turn supports the lifestyle and prosperity of the whole community.
Further information about educational activities for the Gippsland Lakes is available on the Love Our Lakes website.