Above Moorabool Landcare Network’s Landcare Facilitator Roger MacRaild with students from Bacchus Marsh Grammar.
The 2021 Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants provided opportunities for school students and youth group members to connect with Landcare and nature.
More than 1800 adult volunteers or group members participated in projects and inspired the next generation of Landcarers to care for their local environment, through knowledge sharing and activities such as plant identification, nest box creation, and planting.
The 111 projects funded in 2021 collectively planted more than 20,000 indigenous plants to create and improve habitat for native flora and fauna.
The 2022 Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants is the fifth year of this grants program, which is funded by DELWP and administered by Landcare Australia as part of its national Junior Landcare program.
The grants were open to Victorian schools, kindergartens, childcare centres, Scouts and Girl Guides, and youth groups.
The more than 11,000 students and young people who participated in projects funded through the 2021 grants improved their local environments through on-ground works, and experienced the social and emotional benefits of volunteering.
A group of year 9 and 10 environmental science students from Bacchus Marsh Grammar planted over 500 plants as part of their 2021 grants project. The project extended the students’ knowledge of the importance of habitat restoration and provided them with practical revegetation experience and a connection to Landcare.
Moorabool Landcare Network’s Landcare Facilitator Roger MacRaild assisted with the planning and planting phase of the project. His practical knowledge ensured the new plants had the best chance of survival and he was available for students to ask him questions along the way.
St Mary MacKillop Primary School in Bannockburn 2021 grants project included working with the Friends of Bannockburn Reserve to enhance habitat at the reserve. The students participated in weed identification, weeding, mulching, and planting. They also improved tadpole habitat through rainwater reclamation.
The collaboration between the school and the community group introduced students to the notion of voluntary environmental work.
Teachers at the school saw it as a wonderful socialisation experience as well as an opportunity to foster healthy outdoor activity and wellbeing among the students.
Grade 5 student Matilda, said she loved being able to help the local community. “It was amazing how a group of grade fives can change a little tadpole’s life and make the natural habitat even better.”
Ongoing opportunities for engagement between schools, students and Landcare or community groups can be found year round on the online Junior Landcare Calendar of Environmental days at www.juniorlandcare.org.au/events
Angela Snowdon is Environmental Grants and Volunteering Program Manager at Landcare Australia. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org