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Bunbury primary school students participate in nature education fun with Nearer to Nature team

Craig DuncanBunbury Herald
Parks and Wildlife officer Anya Fey shows a cicada shed to students from Eaton Primary School.
Camera IconParks and Wildlife officer Anya Fey shows a cicada shed to students from Eaton Primary School. Credit: Craig Duncan

Primary school students from across the Bunbury area were out in force last week, getting their hands dirty with the team from Nearer to Nature for some eco-education fun.

Students from Carey Park, Eaton, Maidens Park, Cooinda, South Bunbury and Clifton Park primary schools gathered at Mangrove Cove on May 13 and 14 to learn about the environment.

Students were given the opportunity to learn about nature with a range of environmental educators, community groups and the Parks and Wildlife Service.

South Bunbury Primary School students Jack 8, Auren, 8, and Florence, 7, with guide Troy Bennell.
Camera IconSouth Bunbury Primary School students Jack 8, Auren, 8, and Florence, 7, with guide Troy Bennell. Credit: Craig Duncan

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Activities included bird watching tours to see swamphens, ravens and osprey nests with Birdlife Bunbury, learning about snake bite first aid while handling carpet pythons and pygmy pythons with Discover Deadly and hearing Dreamtime stories from Ngalang Wongi Aboriginal Cultural Tours operator Troy Bennell.

Ruby Wren, 9, from Eaton Primary School with a curious carpet python.
Camera IconRuby Wren, 9, from Eaton Primary School with a curious carpet python. Credit: Craig Duncan

The Dolphin Discovery Centre taught students about life in the sea, while the Parks and Wildlife Service’s Nearer to Nature team showed off life on the land.

Students were out in force digging up bugs in the soil and sifting through swamp water to find a range of creepy crawlies that live in the waterways.

Nearer to Nature project officer John Anderson said the days were an opportunity for students to engage in nature and build a lifelong conservation ethic.

“We know when kids are actively engaged in learning about their native environment, it has benefits in terms of educational and social benefits for the kids,” he said.

“These kids in 10 to 15 years are going to be working, earning money, paying taxes and voting.

“They are going to be making decisions about how we manage and look after our natural environment.

“It’s really important for them to do that from a position of knowledge and by learning in nature, they get a much greater connection to nature.”

Students from Cooinda Primary School at the DBCA's touch table filled with unique animal specimens.
Camera IconStudents from Cooinda Primary School at the DBCA's touch table filled with unique animal specimens. Credit: Craig Duncan

South Bunbury Primary School teacher Kaylene Turner said the event was a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn things they could never experience in a classroom.

“They’ve got to learn about nature, they’ve got to learn about local culture and to learn directly from Troy Bennell was an absolute pleasure,” she said.

“We know a lot of our kids are really interested in nature, we see that a lot at school, but to be out and about in our community today is a really amazing opportunity.

Cooinda Primary School teacher Amber McEldowney found the activities great for students of all ages.

“This brings the kids a bit closer to connect with Bunbury,” she said.

“It’s good for kids to know where they are from, know their environment and get a sense of grounding and place.

“It also gives kids the opportunities they don’t always get to see.”

Parks and wildlife officer Anya Fey showing a range of taxidermied animals to students from Cooinda Primary School.
Camera IconParks and wildlife officer Anya Fey showing a range of taxidermied animals to students from Cooinda Primary School. Credit: Craig Duncan

Mr Anderson said the event was free for all schools who attended thanks to support from the City of Bunbury’s Habitat Bunbury Project.

“By doing this, we help their program reach multiple schools instead of trying to target them individually,” he said.

“We’ve been doing this for a few years now, and the feedback we’ve got from the teachers has always been fantastic.

“The kids always love it and I think they take away something really important. They understand you don’t have to go out into the bush to be able to see nature, it’s always right here on your doorstep.”

A student from Eaton Primary School holds a pygmy python with the team at Discover Deadly.
Camera IconA student from Eaton Primary School holds a pygmy python with the team at Discover Deadly. Credit: Craig Duncan

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