Metford Public School and Hunter River Community School are two of 29 Hunter Valley schools receiving Junior Landcare grants from the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) this week.
The program invited Hunter Valley and regional NSW schools neighbouring the freight rail network to pitch their environmental ideas for funding. ARTC recently announced a total of nearly $30,000
worth of funding would be provided to deliver the exciting school projects and promote safe rail behaviours.
Students at Metford Public School hope to see an increase in the range of local native fauna by planting a native food plant garden. Their garden will provide opportunities for students, teachers
and the community to learn about native edible plants and Indigenous foods.
Hunter River Community School currently has 10 raised garden beds and a chook pen. They will be using their grant to rejuvenate all of the beds. As the school is for students with complex needs,
they are planning a sensory garden that will be stimulating for the children.
The successful schools are spread across the Hunter Valley and regional NSW including Narrabri in the north, to Narromine and Dubbo in the south. A broad range of projects are being funded
including veggie gardens, permaculture gardens, native gardens, worm farms, recycling projects and sensory gardens.
Landcare Partnership Manager, Adin Lang said, “Junior Landcare grants encourage young people to play an active role in ensuring the safe future of their environment and to develop a sense of
responsibility to the land and other natural resources that they will inherit in future years ahead.”
Wayne Johnson, ARTC’s Group Executive Hunter Valley said the program also offers a great opportunity to encourage safe behaviours of students and parents around the busy railway. “We
regularly have train drivers report trespass sightings of school students and we think initiatives like this provide an opportunity to open dialogue with schools and build respect for the railway.”