This OzFish project is about reversing the decline of the local fishery and improving the water quality of rivers, specifically the Richmond River through community education within schools.
Students learn about river regeneration, how wetlands support the ecology of the river and take away the general message about how they can contribute to keeping our local environment sustainable.
Dorroughby Environmental Education Centre, collaborated with OzFish Richmond Chapter, NSW Fisheries, Byron Bird Buddies and Richmond Valley Landcare to run a River Health Project Week. Five schools participated in the days; Bexhill, Tregeagle and Teven/Tintenbar Public Schools and Evans River and Ballina High Schools.
The students used science to investigate their surroundings and the health of the rehabilitated wetlands on Teven Rd, near Ballina. The primary students took part in a role play that demonstrated the importance of mangroves, conducted stream watch, identified 33 species of bird using the Teven Rd Wetlands as habitat, examined aquatic macro-invertebrates under microscopes and collected data on terrestrial insects.
The high schools also compared the aquatic abiotic data between the Teven Rd Wetlands and the water near the Floodgates near Broadwater.
The pilot program has been a resounding success with several local primary and high schools taking part in the Richmond Catchment area in NSW.
The students showed great enthusiasm for many parts of the program especially the bird watching and working with the microscopes. Positive feedback came from the teachers too, who pointed out how easily the program aligned with the syllabus set by the department.