Catching Up with TAFE and Clontarf on Country for Landscape Rehydration Workshop

We were lucky enough to venture out to one of our Chapman Catchment Collaborative Landscape scale Rehydration (CCCLSR) project sites for a training workshop with some of the Geraldton Senior High School Central Regional Tafe Midwest Clontarf Academy students and our landscape rehydration contractor, Rod O’Bree.

The students visit different sites on most Tuesdays on a weekly basis. They get the chance to understand landscape rehydration processes, practice machinery techniques, and further understand the importance of water movement and landscape function at scale.

The Midwest Clontarf Academy exists to improve the education, discipline, self-esteem, life skills and employment prospects of young Aboriginal men and, by doing so, equip them to participate more meaningfully in society. Fundamental to this is the development of values, skills and abilities that will assist the boys in achieving better life outcomes. This is a perfect fit with our Chapman Catchment Landscape Scale Rehydration Project and allows the students to gain on-ground experience.

We organised this as a small training event and had the chance to chat with the boys over some tucker and hear about how they enjoy getting out of the classroom and back on country.

Over some smoko, we chatted with Clint Hansen and Vivek Bhat from Central Regional Tafe, who supervise the team.

Clint has already been involved in several projects and activities with Mr O’Bree at the Yanget property. These include; rehydration work, planting of native revegetation and low-stress stock handling.

The site looked great, with the boys getting a chance to be on country and gain experience in machine operating, landscape rehydration, and caring for the land. Clint spoke, ‘I think it’s better learning for them because it’s oral and visual. They are able to see the process on country instead of looking at it and trying to design it in the classroom. They get more of the feel for the fall of the land when they’re out here. I could draw things on the board in the classroom, but they can’t feel it.’

If I show them a picture of a plant or flower in the classroom, they have trouble finding it out on in the field. But if they see the leaves, flowers, and stem in person and in different seasons, they can easily recognise it at different times of the year. Visually is best for them instead of a photograph.

Vivek agreed that the team were enjoying their experience learning about landscape rehydration and said ‘The boys have been loving what they are doing here. The project touched them quickly in the beginning as it’s not conventional farming it’s actually helping the land and rehydrating the land. They have enjoyed it since day one.

Vivek also stated how important the on-ground learning was for students, giving them practical experience ‘being a part of the learning process is about getting involved in the industry. They are appreciative of what Rod has created out here. They get to be on the land and to be with machines… This setup works really well as a collaborative thing with the TAFE and school kids – getting them job ready for the wide world.

It isn’t only the students who gain insight while out and about. Vivek stated, ‘A wonderful experience for us to have them here and to equip them for the next part of their life. The boys have picked up the skills so quickly. And this is the best cohort we’ve had. They’re so good – skill-wise and attitude-wise.  So keen to learn and work – also learn about plant propagation and recognising native flora and fauna and treating weeds.

Vivek, Clint and Rod all agreed on the student’s progress so far through this program and how wonderful the opportunity has been. Rod’s knowledge of the landscape has been invaluable in helping the students understand the landscape, how it functions and the movement of water and where and how to construct earthworks. Rod has been undertaking landscape rehydration techniques on his property for over a decade. He is working with NACC NRM under the CCCLSR Project, assisting in the earthworks for the regional demonstration sites, which include works on his family’s property, ‘Yanget’.

We are looking forward to seeing the learnings and the results of the hard work the crew are putting in as we progress through the CCCLSR Project. 

Thanks so much to Rod, Vivek, Clint and the students.

This project is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.

Annabelle Garratt – Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator

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1 comment

So nice to see learning out of the class room as there are different approaches to learning & not everyone learns the same way. Keep it up as we need more people learning how the landscape functions & how the different seasons can assist this.

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