Student Catchment Books Launch at Henty

Two books highlighting ‘local land heroes’ and written by students from Henty and Hume public schools were launched at the Henty Machinery Field Days on Wednesday 24 September 2014.

The launch is one of several events for 45 books along the Murrumbidgee and Murray catchments that have been written and illustrated by school students and then professionally printed.

The book writing program (Enviro-Stories) is part of the 2014 Creative Catchment Kids program, an initiative of the Murray Darling Association and Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre.

The program is funded by the Murray and Riverina Local Land Services.

Students at the two schools wrote about people in their communities who have made significant contributions to productive and sustainable farms and related agricultural industries.

Students at Henty Public School have written about the history of the Henty Machinery Field Days. Students at the Hume Public School have written about Belinda Anderson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Henty Machinery Field Days.

Creative Catchment Kids adopted the Enviro-Stories program four years ago and has been so successful, that it was featured at an international environmental education conference in Morocco last year.

The books are written by upper primary school students but each school receives multiple copies for younger students to use as part of the schools’ learn-to-read programs. The books will also be lodged in the National Library of Australia and the NSW State Library. The books can also be accessed electronically for classroom smart boards.

The Creative Catchment Kids program has resulted in a year of learning and innovation for students and teachers in 45 schools across the Murrumbidgee and Murray catchments.

A key feature of the program has been to give primary students opportunities to learn and write about people who have made important contributions to sustainable and productive farming and agricultural industries.

The two books launched at Henty on 24 September certainly show that, given the opportunity, the great creativity in primary schools can be harnessed and students can come up with interesting ideas to explore productive and sustainable farm issues.

The program has focussed on finding the balance between social, economic and environmental needs when thinking about the environment.

The program helps primary students to appreciate that communities, local businesses, farms and catchment health in the Murray and Murrumbidgee catchments are all linked and dependent on each other.

This year, the project has involved about 400 primary and high school students from 45 schools across the Murrumbidgee and Murray catchments. The participating schools are from Tumbarumba to Griffith, Albury to Moulamein. A similar book-writing program is also being conducted in more remote schools between Wentworth and Tibooburra.

School students are important members of catchment communities but often don’t get many opportunities to express their views on land and water issues or get involved in catchment activities.

Students are always interested in practical projects and this book writing program is encouraging students to learn more about productive farming, sustainability and the management of natural resources.

Principals, teachers, parents and the ‘local land heroes’ should be very proud of the students, their efforts and the high quality books that have been produced.

Representatives of the Murray Darling Association, Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre, principals, teachers and the parents of participating students as well as the ‘local land heroes’ attended the event to help the students celebrate and launch their books.

Fourteen of the books will be launched at the Tuppal Food and Fibre Festival in mid-October.

The remainder of the books will be launched in local school communities during November.


Book Launch at Henty Machinery Field Day 2014

(L-R) Stacee Staunton-Latimer (Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre), Adrian Wells (Murray Darling Association), Gary Rodda (General Manager for Murray Local Land Services), Katrina Hodgkinson MP (NSW Minister for Primary Industries), Rob Kelly (General Manager for Riverina Local Land Services) and Alexandra Anthony (Chair of Murray Local Land Services)