Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Western NSW Junior River Program

STUDENTS from Condobolin Public School and St Joseph’s Catholic School recently took part in a series of activities along the banks of the Lachlan River to understand and learn about the traditional knowledge and values of looking after country. 

The Junior River Ranger Program in Condobolin, NSW, drew 62 stage 3 students to learn about taking care of local rivers.

The pilot program came from River Dreaming Aboriginal Corporation (RDAC), a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting these values to improve the overall health of our inland waterways. 

“We’re trying to nurture students to be the custodians of our inland rivers, and more importantly to know that they can contribute to the health of these rivers locally,” RDAC director Brett Smith told the Western Plains App.

 “We talked to the students about traditional cultural fishing…and how that links to current day management practices to conserve native fish,” Smith said. 

Discussions about the cultural significance of rivers, riparian habitat and why biodiversity matters were also part of the day, as well as a tree planting session supported by Landcare NSW. 

“Getting involved in tree planting days, not leaving rubbish behind and fishing responsibly, all those sorts of things have a positive impact on our Inland waterways.”

The program trial which was held in Condobolin, will also be rolled out at Lake Cargelligo before the year is out. 

In 2024, RDAC hopes to spread the program across Inland NSW.

“The kids absolutely loved getting hands on planting trees and scratching around trying to identify what animals were about,” Smith said. 

To make sure that the learning continues after the day is done, students have access to online learning activities through Junior Landcare Australia.

“(Junior Landcare) gives the kids access to a range of online learning resources that are linked to curriculum…First Nations perspectives is one of the learning outcomes which fits in perfectly with what we’re doing,” Smith said.

“At the heart of our work is a group of dedicated volunteers who are determined to ensure country remains as it always has, a connection to the past and a place we borrow from our children”.   

 The pilot project is proudly supported by the Aboriginal Fishing Trust Fund.

Credit: Laura Williams

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