We are just back from our three day trip to Lorne, via the Otway Fly Treetop Walk and the Great Ocean Road, where we saw two mother-and-calf pairs of Southern Right whales. My own calves are still aching from the 47-metre climb to the top of the Otway Fly tower, where you can view through the treetops of the mighty mountain ash, native beech and blackwood trees to the forest floor of tree ferns and bracken.
Our students presented their very entertaining “Flash News” multimedia presentation with confidence and good humour and then attended two other “kids-teaching-kids” workshops in different groups. Some of the presentations included “What’s cute, grunts like a pig and needs our help?” (koalas), a school restoring their local creek, a giant snakes-and-ladders board game and an interactive drama about a picnic by the river.
Today we participated in hands-on environmental activities including:
- building nesting boxes
- investigating macro-invertebrates with Waterwatch
- testing salinity with Estuary Watch
- indigenous games
- netting in the Erskine River
- weed removal and tree-planting
- recycling – how and why?
- Rock-pool ramble
The post-conference reflection session allows students from each school to express their thoughts for the future – what they can do differently in the future to improve their home and school. The conference aims to give students opportunities to connect with their environment and with their peers, and instil a sense of hope and optimism for the future. By the end of this year, 15,500 students will have attended a Riverhealth/Environment conference, since their beginnings in Mildura in 1999. These students are our future decision-makers and hopefully they will spread the sustainability message in their homes, schools and communities for many years.
Arron Wood, the managing director of Firestarter Ltd, heads a team of passionate environmentalists who are dedicated to “environmental and educational credibility, applied and innovative work commitment, respect for social responsibility and the choice of ethical projects only”. Arron has just recently started blogging (Arron’s blog), so drop by and give him some encouragement to continue comunicating using this media by commenting on your experiences at Lorne. Let Arron know what you learnt at the conference, what you enjoyed most and how the conference will affect the way you think, feel and act in the future.