During semester 1 2010 efforts were made to introduce students from Notre Dame College to the concept of Landcare. At their schools designated reach, Reedy Swamp, the students learnt how volunteers can make a difference through small, hands on projects, that protect the environmental aspects of our region, and how degradation over time impacts on our environment.
Students toured a site where exotic woody weeds had taken hold and were rapidly spreading toward Reedy Swamp. These weeds were likely dumped as garden clippings, as many people don’t realise the effects this has on our native environment. Students planned and conducted a stem injection exercise, (where chemical is injected into the weed) that will eradicate the woody weed.
Students were introduced to the concept of soil erosion and its effect in water quality issues. They learnt the different types of erosion i.e. water, wind and traffic, and their effect on waterfront land. Control measures, such as revegetation, were studied and used in conjunction with commercial silt traps, rock and dead timber to slow water runoff. Students saw how fencing and bollards can be installed to manage foot and vehicle traffic.
Students learnt concepts such as canopy, understory and ground cover and their important role to a waterway environment. The skills of successful tree planting including plant selection, soil preparation, plant protection and after care were studied and carried out.
Students planned and assisted in the installation of two concrete bases for picnic tables to be placed in key bird observation sites. The measurement, concrete pouring and level finishing of the bases were good learning experiences.
As a Landcare volunteer, I felt these projects were useful in teaching important concepts regarding our environment to future generations. Most students showed some interest and respect for what they were presented with and as a result, achieved some positive outcomes that will help protect the health of our natural wetlands, rivers and environments.
Royce Dickson, President
Shepparton/Mooroopna Urban Landcare Group