Excitement is growing among Junior Landcare teams across the country, with State and Territory finalists in the running for the 2022 Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award.
The Award – which acknowledges a school, youth organisation or young community landcare team that contributes to raising awareness, sharing knowledge and promoting participation of landcare amongst young people – will be presented at the 2022 National Landcare Awards to be held in Sydney on Wednesday 24 August as part of the National Landcare Conference.
Landcare Australia CEO Dr Shane Norrish said he was blown away by both the calibre and commitment of each of the teams, who exemplify the mission of the Junior Landcare program to empower children to play an active role in ensuring the safe future of their environment and local communities.
“Junior Landcare recognises the vital role that young Australians play in caring for the land, their environment and other natural resources,” said Dr Norrish. “The finalists who have been shortlisted highlight the various ways that young Australians are rolling up their sleeves and developing skills, sharing knowledge, and fostering connections with place and community.”
In 2020/2021 alone, over 130,000 children participated in Junior Landcare projects, gaining awareness of environmental issues and engaging in hands-on projects centred around the themes of biodiversity, food production, waste management, and Indigenous perspectives.
“The Award provides a wonderful forum to honour the hard work and dedication that the Junior Landcare teams bring to their projects,” said Loretta Arrastia, Community Programs Manager, Woolworths Supermarkets.
“We are proud to sponsor this category and couldn’t be more inspired by this new generation of environmental champions who are coming together to make a sustainable impact in their schools and wider community.”
The full list of finalists includes:
ACT: North Ainslie Public School and P&C
North Ainslie Primary School prioritises sustainability, connection, and caring for nature as a community. The school has an active Parents and Citizens (P&C) association that has spearheaded several projects that focus on creating green spaces and regenerating the school grounds. The school also runs an educational program called PACH – Personal and Community Health – which focuses on sustainability, gardening knowledge and skills. Classroom teachers teach units of inquiry that focus on being environmentally-conscious citizens. The student-led Green Team runs a garden club and other initiatives at the school too.
NSW: Ivanhoe Central School
Ivanhoe Central School is a small remote school situated in far Western NSW. The school’s ‘Outback Adventure Farm’ project encompasses sustainable living, healthy food choices, diet and nutrition. Students are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the farm from basic planting and picking at kindergarten level to more advanced mathematical equations, solutions, nutrition and building associated with running any farm enterprise. Since launching in 2020, The Outback Adventure Farm has expanded due to the student’s continued desire to learn more, understand and participate, with growing a farm from bare ground enabling the students and wider community to see what can be achieved when working as a team.
VIC: Tempy Primary School
Tempy Primary School, located in the township of Tempy, 420km north of Melbourne, is a small school of 20 students. Concerned by sighting endangered malleefowl feeding on the edges of the highway near their homes, students took the initiative to learn more about malleefowl and alert their local community about the importance of their conservation. Determined to become ambassadors for the endangered Malleefowl, the students have since increased their knowledge about strategies to minimise threats to the Malleefowl; campaigned for control of foxes and feral cats in Malleefowl habitat and revegetating to minimise cleared and fragmented habitats. The project work continues with monitoring of active malleefowl nests in local parks and reserves and on private property; and lobbying for more pest animal control and better signage on roadsides.
TAS: Wynyard High School
The Green Team is a volunteer group of students at Wynyard High School situated in the rural Northwest Coast of Tasmania. The group was formed in 2019 to raise awareness and educate students, staff, parents and the local community about climate change and their natural environment, as well as to find ways to make Wynyard High “greener” and more renewable. The Green Team meets once a week during term time and organises activities ranging from increasing waste management education and recycling capacity to tracking the school greenhouse gas emission and hosting a school-wide Climate Awareness Day. The school has also initiated an ‘Our Environment’ class for year 9 -10 students which links with local environmental initiatives, community groups and organisation to learn more about the local environment and undertake on-ground environmental work.
SA: Guardian Childcare and Education St. Clair
The children at Guardian Childcare and Education St. Clair are heavily involved in the Bringing Back the Butterflies program and have developed a native butterfly garden to provide a safe haven for butterflies to return to a safe area. Through the project, the children have cared for hundreds of monarch caterpillars in their garden. Designed and maintained by 200 children, the garden has become a space where children can learn more about plants, butterflies and what they need to survive.
WA: Forest Crescent Primary School
Committed to impacting the environment positively, year 4 and 6 students at Forest Crescent Primary School have been involved in several tree planting projects, building on the tree planting work done by students at the school before them at coastal, rural and metropolitan sites. As one of the school’s large-scale sustainability programs, the tree planting projects aimed to promote healthier soils, reduce the effect of salinity, restore the land to its original ecosystem, reduce greenhouse gases and provide natural carbon sinks. They also provide an opportunity to give back to the community and become advocates for environmental projects that help sustain the future and promotes good mental health.
NT: Manyallaluk School
Manyallaluk School is located approximately an hour and a half from Katherine at the top of the Katherine Gorge or Nitmiluk. The school established a STEM or learning on country program involving students from pre-school to year 6 to engage students in rich literacy and numeracy learning connected to their country and culture. An integral part of the STEM program has been the school’s quest to discover the elusive and endangered pokipain (echidna) because even full-time rangers confess they are tricky to locate. After years of toiling, the students successfully located this secretive mammal using spy cameras. Their quest to find the pokipain also taps into the work they are doing to investigate how the natural environment has been impacted by large numbers of feral animals.
Now in its 30th year, the National Landcare Awards is an opportunity to celebrate and honour Landcare champions from urban and rural communities excelling in sustainable agricultural practices, environmental protection, conservation of land and waterways, coastlines and biodiversity. To find out more about the 2022 National Landcare Awards and Conference, to book your ticket or to register for free as a virtual delegate, visit www.nationallandcareconference.org.au.