I had a wonderful experience this morning and I want to share it with you in the hope that it might inspire you to share your story with those around you. I was asked by Year Five at Radford College to come and speak to them about water and biodiversity, as they are studying this topic for their unit of inquiry.
Well, it is a pretty big topic to cover in an hour and a half! I decided to focus on Australia’s rivers and take the children on a journey through temperate, tropical and ephemeral streams, and then out to Cooper Creek and the ‘boom and bust’ of floods.
We ‘acted out’ how a riparian zone works, with my blue scarf the water and two children standing on either side being trees. One of the ‘trees’ got quite old and ended up in the river where it provided habitat for fish (much to the hilarity of the children). We then looked at dirty bathtubs, and that scum around the edge to understand how rivers in the Cooper Creek ‘function’. Two children became algae lying in a curve on either side of my unfolded scarf which became a floodplain – my ‘algae girls’! It may all sound a bit silly, but it meant that we shared knowledge with each other and had a lot of fun.
We watched a great Desert Channels Film on the floods moving through Cooper Creek to show the children what our ‘natural’ systems can look like. This was then contrasted with a video called ‘caring for Macca’ which is about the actions being taken to protect Macquarie Perch in the Cotter Dam project.
These children are our future river managers, scientists, communicators, policy makers – we need to spend time and share what we know with them so that they can be motivated to act and take an interest in the world they live in. Let the teachers at your local school know what you do for rivers in Australia, share your stories – the sharing is as enjoyable as the receiving!