On the 1st of June 2023, NACC NRM celebrated National Reconciliation Week with the Year 5 and Year 6’s from Waggrakine Primary School!
NACC NRM Aboriginal Custodianship and Coastcare staff Priscilla, Taj, Alanah, and Mic joined forces with Virginie of Chapman River Friends and Alice of Birdlife Midwest to host a clean-up on the banks of Chapman River, an exciting opportunity to Re-Connect to Country.
Maryke Gray of Central Regional TAFE and Bianca Berg of Yamatji Southern Regional Corporations brought the Yamatji Sea Rangers along to help – after all, it takes a village. The group were lucky enough to hear an incredible Acknowledgement of Country from Sea Ranger Timothy Mallard.
Before getting stuck into the clean-up, Priscilla read the students an excerpt from the book ‘Fire Country’ by Victor Steffanson, which detailed the history of the Australian landscape and the environmental challenges that we are facing at the moment. Priscilla spoke about the revival of traditional Aboriginal practices and how these practices are more and more being used to help us all better care for Country.
To kick off the clean-up, students were given a safety run down, ensuring that sharps or hazardous rubbish were reported to and handled by an adult. The students split into two groups, with one group going to the ocean side of the Chapman River Bridge. Priscilla and Alanah took this group to do some birdwatching through the binoculars with Alice, and tidy up the rivermouth. The second group went with Viginnie, Taj and Mic the opposite way, to spread out and collect as much rubbish as possible! The Yamatji Sea Rangers were very helpful in the clean up process, and shared their knowledge with both groups about caring for waterways.
Both groups then gathered to collect and sort through all the rubbish, and record it on the Tangaroa Blue app. This app collects data from all over Australia to monitor how much rubbish is being collected and what is being found in waterways. In finishing up the sorting and data input, it was found that about 15kg of rubbish was collected in just one hour of cleaning up; what a great effort from everyone!
It was another wonderful and very informative day with the keen students of Waggrakine Primary School! We look forward to getting more schools involved, learning about the history of Chapman River and how we can all play a part in caring for Country.