This month our team has been developing and supporting an emerging Chapman River Project with Waggrakine Primary School and Bluff Point Primary School.
Recently, Anouska Barnes from Waggrakine Primary School had her class of Year 5 students complete a trial to walk to Chapman River and undertake some activities that will reconnect them back onto Country.
This initiative was enabled by Chapman River Friends Coordinator Virginie Carbonatto. This extremely passionate and active community group raises awareness about the Chapman River Regional Park and help to educate about the importance of the environment. This initiative represents a great opportunity for the schools that are situated on either side of the river.
To support the project, the NACC NRM Aboriginal Custodianship team visited the local primary schools to raise awareness about nature conservation including the Chapman River and its wildlife.
Aboriginal Custodianship Program Coordinator, Priscilla Papertalk welcomed the students and acknowledged the Amangu Land and the Traditional Custodian of the river is the Naaguja People, “We respect the ground we walk on and the land will look after us”.
The group then walked to the water’s edge under the bridge and completed a Cultural Activity throwing sand in the water.
Alannah Campbell from the NACC NRM Coastal and Marine team had the opportunity to share her coastcare work, she explained why it’s so important to look after the estuary as its connected to the river and ocean. She explained how The City of Greater Geraldton had already completed their Chapman River Estuary Reserve Action Plan to support the protection and management of the area.
Virginie took the kids on a short walk to learn how to use their senses to connect to the Country along the Chapman River at Spalding Park.
Priscilla said “We believe that our children need to reconnect to their natural environment, learn about it and care for it. This project is an opportunity for the children to learn but also to be proud of themselves through a collective project”.
The NACC NRM team managed a Rope History activity where kids could learn and discuss the history around WA. Priscilla advised the kids that when they learn more about the Chapman River they had the opportunity to add it to the Rope History, making it a shared journey. The team also used our fabulous threatened species jigsaw with a design from Badimia artist Acacia Collard to support the children in their conservation understanding.
Just to top off this experience Birdlife Midwest-Geraldton ran a scope and binoculars exercise. The Birdlife volunteers shared their love for bird watching excursions and supported the children to engage in the various citizen science projects throughout Midwest Australia.
With all of this packed into one trip there are no surprise that one student said that it was the best excursion ever!
We are looking forward to 2023, when Bluff Point Primary School will have their trial run.