Our Youth Looking After Our River 5On Tuesday 17 September Year 6 students from 6 schools in our local area from Augusta to Cowaramup gathered in our school’s undercover area to present their Our Patch Project.

Invited guests included Pam Townsend (Shire President),  Nature Conservation Margaret River board members, project funders, parents and local landholders who hosted school groups on their catchment tours.

This presentation was the culmination of a semester’s work integrating Science into their inquiry and putting the Global Goals into practice!  It was also a remarkable example of collaboration, where four Year 6 classes worked together and created the beautiful banner which outlined their joint investigation.

Our Youth Looking After Our River 6

Margaret River Year 6 students have worked with the guidance of Michelle Keppel of Nature Conservation (Margaret River) and have performed real life Science investigations to ascertain the health of the Margaret River. The authenticity of their work encapsulates our school’s inquiry ethos of including a So What? which is best reflected in the slogan on their banner: “Our Margaret River.  Our responsibility. Everyone’s future!” Over six months, our students have been conducting scientific water sampling of the Margaret River, followed up by a catchment tour where they met and interviewed stakeholders and business owners.

After the presentation, Mr Thomas said,

This was a really great opportunity for our students to THINK GLOBAL : ACT LOCAL.  Not only did they discover what they could do to improve the health of our waterways, but they actually took ACTION by conducting the assessments of the waterways themselves and then formulating a series of recommendations for the Augusta Margaret River Shire to action.  I am so proud of the contribution that our students are making towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals!

Michelle Keppel said,

It was great to see the enthusiasm of the students and how they responded to the interdisciplinary nature of the project during the catchment tours. Meeting actual stakeholders made them realise how real their work was.

It certainly was a huge project and this is what students had to say about the presentation and what they have learnt through being involved in a project of this nature.

Zac C said,

Since the start of the year we have been working with Nature Conservation Margaret River with the aim of protecting the river.  We have been shown some of the ways other people and other groups have protected it.  This river also has spiritual connections to Aboriginal people of the local Wadandi group. Thanks Michelle!

Mary McG said,

Our Margaret River is a very special place to Wadandi people of the Noongar nation because our Margaret River is created by the magic man Wooditch.  The Wadandi people call the river Wooditchup, named after Wooditch who created it.  This is a quote from Jini Wilson:

The old man is on a mission to reach the sea. He runs down from the rocky ranges and onto the flat lands, where the way is obscured by forest and scrub. He emerges onto farmland, his path winding through fields covered with grapevines or dotted with cows, then into the forest surrounding the town of Margaret River.  Here he might pause to rest by a shady rock pool.  With renewed energy he races through the rocky valleys, and towards the sea. Wadandi Noongar custodians call him Wooditch. To most people he is known as the Margaret River.


Otis said,

To me, it was a chance to show and educate other people about our river system and how we need to protect and preserve our beautiful landscape. We chose a global goal for each class that could be associated with our river and our biodiverse hotspot.

Beth B said

The river is very important to us because it supplies the water that we drink and it supports our wildlife that makes up our river. If we keep the river the way we are keeping it, I think we can help our river grow and thrive.

Gigi F said,

It was a great chance to educate students and adults about the health of our river. The ways we educated everyone were very well thought through (i.e. Mini-movies, Powerpoints, ECO STACK, etc.)  People really enjoyed watching the presentations and more than 300 students worked on it for around 6 months. A lot of time and money was put into educating us students about our rivers and catchment systems.

Rose G said,

It was very interesting listening and learning from the other schools about our Margaret River and some other rivers located in the Augusta- Margaret River region. Montessori Primary School had an interactive presentation. They used a game of Jenga. On some of the blocks there were problems. Some were solutions and the other blocks had the values of the river written on them.

Room 12 students said,

The Cape Catchment Project has taught us how to keep our waterways clean.  – Isy

The project was a great opportunity to bring schools and communities together. – Hunter

It was great to spread awareness amongst the schools about this important issue.  – Luke

It is a good chance to do something different rather than ordinary schoolwork.  – June

Keeping the river clean is very important.  – Leroy

It was a great chance to use your creative side, making the poster.  – Isy

We need to keep our water system clean and plastic free.  – Tori and Madi

Cedar O summed it up with,

We have learnt about the river from Michelle Keppel and so have some of the other schools in the Augusta-Margaret River region.  We came together to celebrate what we have all learnt and educate others about our Margaret River region.  We are the future joint custodians of the Margaret River and it is our responsibility to look after the river.  We have learnt how to look after our river so we can keep it clean and pristine for generations to come!

Teachers and students would also like to thank all our educational assistants for their help organising students and helping us all to finish working on the banner, then erect it.

Students’ own written responses; Photo, written and posted by D. Veary



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