Surprise guest to the Ironbarks school nature walks was Roberto D’Andrea from The Connies.
Held at Deep Lead Nature Reserve, D’Andrea entertained and educated the school children and adults alike about the birds, animals and plants that make the Ironbarks unique.
He handed out much sought after collectible swap-cards which contained beautiful images of animal and plant species with information about each on the flip side.
The cards were designed and made by The Connies.
“The cards proved a real hit with everyone, even the adults received their own sets,” Project Platypus Local Landcare Facilitator Andrea Mitchell said.
The annual walks involve taking the grade three students from Stawell 502, Stawell West and St Patrick’s Primary Schools on a Nature Walk in the Ironbarks forest in spring each year.
Each school has its own walk with trained volunteer guides from the Stawell Urban Landcare group and the local community.
Stawell Urban Landcare’s Julie Andrew coordinates the walks with the schools and arranges and trains volunteer guides.
“The best feedback is hearing children say they are going to bring back their families, and teachers planning to work school curriculum around the walks,” she said.
The students complete a written questionnaire as they do the walk.
“Seeing smiles on faces and complete engagement of the children listening to information about their local environment makes the day very much worth it,” Andrea Mitchell said.
Funding for The Connies came from Project Platypus and a Eucalypt Australia grant.
The Connies is a collective of tram conductors, performers, educators, ecologists that tour throughout Victoria and beyond creating awareness about the local environment. They “entertain, educate and inform” through their efforts with members of the community.