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The Wangaratta Student Environment Day was held at the Barr Reserve in Wangaratta on October 25th for around 200 students from the Wangaratta area and also involved  two schools as presenters.  Participating schools were Wangaratta West PS, Yarrunga PS, St. Patrick's PS, St. Bernard's PS and Rutherglen PS.  Two of our local ResourceSmart Schools - Galen College and Wooragee PS, took part as presenters on the day as well.

Students came together to learn about different aspects of the environment from local natural resource management groups such as the Wangaratta Sustainability Network (Waste Wise Wangaratta and Boomerang Bags), Landcare, North East Water, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, State Emergency Service, Petaurus Education,  ResourceSmart (Goulburn Valley Water), EcoInquire, Rural City of Wangaratta (Environment, Sustainability and Waste Teams), North East Catchment Management Authority as well as the student leaders from Galen and Wooragee.

Participating students explored the problems and solutions of everyday single use plastics and how to make a boomerang bag from an old T-shirt;  They also learnt how to make Eco-bricks from old newspapers and confirmed their recycling habits to ensure they were putting the right items in the right bin.  They also learnt about how they ensure that this is done properly at school too and why this was so important.  During the day they gained an understanding of fire and also what to do in natural disasters such as floods and, through art, they also enjoyed learning about aboriginal culture; they learnt lots about food webs for local species such as the barking owl as well as an understanding of biodiversity and habitats, including playing 'Biodiversity Bingo' to spot local habitats and their residents;   They learnt about how drinking water is filtered and why and they also found out about how river health could be determined through the insect life in the water.  By using chocolate chip cookies, students enjoyed learning about the effects of coal mining, and discussed alternate forms of energy and were able to see authentic differences of each through their observations at the Community Centre. They also learnt more about how energy works by building electrical circuits.

 The day also practiced being waste wise through having a rubbish-free lunch, water wise through bringing refillable water bottles and the students also participated in a swap shop during lunchtime – giving toys, books and clothing they no longer wanted, another life. 

The day attracted so many presenters, that we were able to organize a session off for most of them.  This enabled them to see what others presented and how they presented thus improving the experience for all.  The day was a huge success with both students and teachers learning a lot from these local experts and enjoying having the opportunity to mix with other schools.  They will share their learning and follow up on these workshops back at school.

The Student Environment Day was run in conjunction with the Rural City of Wangaratta and coordinated by the North East Environment Education Directory (SEED) which is a uniquely North East Victorian initiative run through a partnership with North East Catchment Management Authority and North East Waste and Resource Recovery Group.

Check out some of the activities partaken in on the day:

Wangaratta Sustainability Network - Making Boomerang Bags

ResourceSmart (Goulburn Valley Water) - Choc Chip Coal Mining DELWP - Web of Life

North East Water - Filtering Water RCoW - Biodiversity Bingo Petaurus Education - Aboriginal Art

Rural City of Wangaratta - Waste Wise Electrical Circuits and Energy
RCoW - Sustainable Eco-Centre

WSN - Waste Wise Wangaratta - Waste Decomposition Timeline RCoW - Betty Barker Food Web Wooragee PS - Making Eco-Bricks

The SEED Kids Swap Shop Galen College - The Waste Police 194 students attended the day


The venue at the Barr Reserve and Community Centre was fantastic, offering some lovely shade in a beautiful environment.  I would like to acknowledge the huge contributions of the Rural City of Wangaratta, NECMA and NEWRRG and all the presenters and their organizations,