Community and education events

Rotary Murray-Darling School of Freshwater Research 2013

The 18th Rotary Murray Darling School of Freshwater Research was run from 14 to 19 April. 24 students travelled to Albury from NSW, VIC, SA and ACT to attend the six day residential school. Four mentors were assigned to guide them through the week, two of these mentors were past RMDSFR students (2007 and 2008), both studying environmental science at University which is great to see.

The students spent a lot of their time at Wonga Wetlands where each group was asked to make observations about two wetlands and generate a hypothesis they would later test with data collected by them with help of staff from MDFRC. At the end of the week, the students are asked to present their findings to the scientists, Rotarians, parents and peers. We always ask the students to be as creative as they can while trying to make their story clear, as we all know it can be a difficult task to communicate science. Every year we get some very inventive presentations, and this year no different with each group managing to pull off entertaining yet informative presentations, we even had a rap song about biodiversity which was awesome!

It was an intensive week with lots of activities which all help build on the experience of freshwater research, conservation and the environment. A tour through Norske Skog paper mill gave us insight into industry which uses a lot of freshwater in its manufacture of newspaper; Charles Sturt University Thurgoona Campus is an impressive example of sustainable living; Scientists from CSU took them spotlighting and helped them set up harp traps to catch bats (this year we caught a record 12 bats of four different species) and Leonie McIntosh from CSU gave a great talk from an Indigenous perspective about living and moving across the river landscape.

The great debate was a highlight. The topic “To dam or not to dam an unregulated river” as predicted created a wonderfully passionate and vigorous discussion that could have gone on all night. A lot of fun was had too in the team building sessions and canoeing the Murray River for a couple of hours is always a highlight.

The research School was a great success this year, our feedback from the students is all positive with a lot of students leaving feeling inspired and as always, grateful for the experience.

Fishy fun run: Wodonga, April 2013

Held along the picturesque banks of the Kiewa and Murray Rivers and Wodonga Creek in April 2013, on tracks not normally open to the public, the Fishy Fun Run promoted health and wellbeing in the community whilst drawing attention to the importance of the local river system and environment. There were fishy posters every kilometre to illustrate the life in the river the participants were running past.

The race was an alternative way of promoting MDFRC's research activities within the community.  Over 300 participants ran or walked the course and all came away with an increased awareness of the beauty of our river systems and the current activities being undertaken to protect them.

MDFRC staff were on hand at the end of the race with activities for young and old: water bugs to capture and identify and the electrofishing boat to look over.

Haighs Murray Cod chocolates were given as prizes, branding this a special 'fishy' event.

All monies raised went to support local charities and to continue revegetation works along our local river systems.