Mount Compass Area School’s Swamp Ambassadors were declared winners of Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award at the 2018 National Landcare Awards in Brisbane this month.
The group was one of seven finalists for the national award. The award recognises the work of a youth organisation or a young Landcare team that contributes to raising awareness, knowledge and understanding of Landcare amongst young people and implements Landcare practices on its own property or within the local community.
The Swamp Ambassadors are a student-led environmental program where students are the custodians of the school’s critically endangered Fleurieu swamp.
Unique to the Fleurieu Penninsula in South Australia, Fleurieu swamps are water-dependent ecosystems that support a diverse range of plants and animals that are found nowhere else in Australia. Once common in the area, less than four percent of the swamps now remain due to their vulnerability to ongoing threats.
The Swamp Ambassadors group was born out of the school’s involvement in the Fleurieu Swamps Recovery Program, run by Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin and the Goolwa-Wellington Local Action Planning Association. Prior to the program, the swamp was seen as unvalued land area that wasn’t used, understood or promoted in any way. Over the last six years the Swamp Ambassadors have worked with the school, and surrounding local community, to change this.
Under the guidance of local Landcare professionals, the students have increased their knowledge of the flora, fauna, hydrology and history of Fleurieu swamps. They have then taken this knowledge and worked to change the perception of the swamps in the broader community by hosting a number of educational forums and events.
“The students’ passion and commitment to the school’s swamp is epitomised by their willingness to give up their weekends and afternoons to take community groups on visits to the area,” said Jessica Sullivan a staff leader for the Mount Compass Area School Swamp Ambassadors.
Year 12 school captain and swamp ambassador Grace Bassett was very excited to accept the award along with other members of the group.
To find out more about the Fleurieu Swamps Recovery Program visit Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin’s website.