Warriors Ignite Young Minds

Western Landcare NSW, with funding from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), recently launched an educational initiative in Broken Hill, featuring the Western Warriors team. This program, inspired by the Sunray Warriors of Mildura, aims to engage primary school students in Western NSW through interactive and educational activities.

The Western Warriors, comprising members from Western Landcare NSW, Local Land Services, Gol Gol Public School Immersion Centre, Miiki Puuri Mandi, and the Murray Darling Working Wetlands Group, have come together to deliver this unique program. Their activities focus on diverse subjects like pollinators, habitat, frogs, and Aboriginal artwork.

Vanessa Anderson, the Regional Coordinator for Schools, emphasized the importance of this initiative. “We work mainly with the primary school kids, just trying to give them a bit of an idea of the importance of our environment and what is in their local environment so that they can better look after it in the future,” she told the Barrier Truth.

Ms Anderson also highlighted her desire to expose students to various career options and environmental awareness. “I wanted to bring these activities out here just to give the kids a little bit of a taste of what else is out there, and hopefully plant a few seeds in their minds of some careers that they might be interested, or maybe things that they hadn’t noticed before, just to open their eyes a little bit more. Hopefully they’ll remember it as they go on.”

Kaye Gottschutzke, a Senior Land Services Officer with Local Land Services in Buronga, and a presenter on habitats, underscored the significance of teaching children about the environment at a young age. “It’s amazing what kids do know about the native animals and how the pests that are introduced to Australia can impact on these native animals. It’s good to get the feedback from the kids and it sometimes surprises me what they already know. I learn from them too, which is good!”, she says.

Kaye Cook, a teacher at Gol Gol Immersion Centre, presented on pollinators. She focused on expanding the children’s understanding beyond the common association of pollinators with bees. “Teaching the children their importance and the importance of caring for them and improving their awareness on the different types of pollinators, because most people associate pollinators with bees [only]”, Cook explained.

Sascha Healy, a Senior Environmental Water Manager with the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group, emphasized the region’s diverse wetland ecosystems. “Hoping the kids get an appreciation for the frogs in their region and the habitats, what a frog needs to survive, [and] also the value of wetlands,” Healy stated.

Lastly, Elisha Mangal from Miiki Puuri Mandi highlighted the therapeutic and cultural significance of painting in their sessions. Mangal noted the children’s keen interest in Aboriginal culture, regardless of their heritage. “Even if they’re not Indigenous, they would still like to do the flag on their work, use the colours, and the different symbols,” Mangal observed.

This program, through its diverse range of activities and expert insights, aims to instil a deeper appreciation and understanding of the environment and local culture among the young minds of Broken Hill.

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