More than 200 students took part in Rio Tinto Earth Assist’s tour of the Wheatbelt Region in October, where schools participated in environmental based incursions and excursions. Rio Tinto Earth Assist is an award-winning environmental education and student volunteering program, delivered in partnership by Conservation Volunteers Australia, Rio Tinto, the Department of Education and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions.
The program supports a growing movement to immerse young Western Australians in hands-on environmental education, whilst providing links to the WA Curriculum and cross curriculum priorities. Their tour of the Wheatbelt region was no exception - they visited schools in Beverley, Northam and Narrogin, providing fun environmental learning experiences.
At East Narrogin Primary School, students learnt about the importance of micro-bats as nature’s natural mosquito removalists. They pieced together and painted micro-bat boxes, which will be placed in trees at the school for the students to monitor. Program Coordinator, Laura Folan said, “In a region that is mostly agricultural, it’s vital that students have the opportunity to learn about their local native species and natural areas – and the value of this ecosystem – like the role of micro-bats as mini pest controllers!”
Beverley District High School students learnt about native bees and even built their very own bee home. The home was constructed from a recycled TV frame by inserting a combination of different materials including pieces of wood, clay blocks, bamboo, and twigs. “Australian bees play an integral role in our ecosystems. Most populations are solitary and build their homes in burrows in the ground, bark, wood, and twigs. They are vital in helping to pollinate native plants”, said Laura.
At West Northam Primary School, students discovered how to reduce food waste and how to reduce, reuse, and recycle at home and in the classroom. Students constructed a worm farm – a great way to combat food waste and to help the School’s vegetable garden flourish. “It’s good for students to see a different career path - like working in environment and conservation,” said class teacher, Katarina McDowell.