Kids become ‘Children of the Bush'

Kids become ‘Children of the Bush'

24 Mar 2011

La Trobe’s Wildlife Sanctuary, in conjunction with the Association of New Elderly and the Friends of the Wildlife Reserves Inc. have developed the Children of the Bush program, which is being delivered to local kindergartens. 

Children of the Bush prgram'Children of the Bush' is a hands on educational experience program designed to introduce kindergarten and pre-school students to the importance of indigenous plants, the role these plants play in native ecosystems as well as basic plant knowledge.  10 kindergartens will experience the incursion in early 2011, with over 235 students taking part.

Andrew Stocker, Education and Information Coordinator at La Trobe’s Wildlife Sanctuary, said, ‘The program engages children in the natural world and provides insight into an environment they may not have had much experience with before.’

The program is a result of an $8,040 Commonwealth Grant from the Caring for Our Country funding scheme.  

‘The Association of New Elderly contacted the Sanctuary for ideas about experiences that could involve young children so we trialed the program in 2009 and were then successful in our funding application to the Commonwealth Grant in 2010,’ Andrew said.

Juli Atkinson, a member of the Education Team at the Sanctuary, delivers the program to the students.  ‘Most of them love the program!  They especially like getting ‘hands-on’ and touching the plants, smelling mint and searching for bugs in the leaf litter,’ Juli said.

At the program conclusion the children are to care for their plants at the kindergarten so in 2 – 3 months time, they can be planted on the grounds, local parks or at Nangak Tamboree Wildlife Sanctuary’s annual planting day on the 19 June 2011.  Each child participating in the program will also receive a copy of 'A River Red Gum Story', an original story written by Andrew and Juli.  

Nangak Tamboree Wildlife Sanctuary intends to maintain delivering this experience to kindergartens in the future, with a view that future funding may make it possible to continue.

For further information please contact:

Nicole Humphreys

La Trobe University Communications Officer
T: 03 9479 6533 E: n.humphreys@latrobe.edu.au

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