Nature teaches lessons


Nature teaches lessons

Out there: Bunurong Coast Education’s education sub-committee chair Rod Webster (left) and education officer Mike Cleeland discover the Inverloch marine environment.

Out there: Bunurong Coast Education’s education sub-committee chair Rod Webster (left) and education officer Mike Cleeland discover the Inverloch marine environment.


THE wonders of the coast need no longer be confined to swimming and surfing, thanks to an award winning initiative of the South Gippsland Conservation Society.

The group’s members are keen to share their knowledge and passion for the environment, and do so through the Bunurong Coast Education program.

The State Government recently acknowledged the program’s success, as the initiative was a finalist in the education category of the Victorian Coastal Awards for Excellence for the second consecutive year.

Education officer Mike Cleeland was delighted.

“It’s a bit like Hawthorn. You get to be a finalist for couple of years and then you win one,” he quipped.

Education sub-committee chair Rod Webster added: “It’s nice to have the program recognised because we believe there are wonderful opportunities, particularly for kids, to learn.”

The society, together with the Inverloch Residents and Ratepayers Association, was also a finalist in the natural environment category in recognition of the groups’ preservation and extension of the Screw Creek Reserve.

The groups have taken over management of the reserve to ensure the long term survival of remnant vegetation and retain a pristine habitat.

Bass Coast Shire Council staff have sprayed weeds and now volunteers are planning to expand the existing network of pathways in the long run.

“It’s not something that is going to be done in a hurry but it’s a great acquisition for the community,” Mr Cleeland said.

Through Mr Cleeland and the sub-committee, members run an adult education program, school holiday activities and lessons tailored to school groups.

In 2012 alone, 1392 students passed through the program.

Dinosaur discovery, whale watching, rock pooling, fungi discovery and climate change are among the activities, with the next one, plant identification scheduled for Thursdays, October 17 and 24.

Society members have also established a learning space – the Bunurong Education Centre – in Inverloch to further spread coastal awareness.

The society will join with Reef Watch to take part in the Victorian Fish Count during November and may include a snorkelling trip to the Bunurong Marine Park.

“This area has so much to offer. It’s got a spectacular diverse marine environment and it’s got intact remnant ecosystems and world class palaeontology and geology,” Mr Cleeland said.

Education was as much about changing attitudes towards sustainability and nature as simply promoting an understanding of how nature functions.

“If people do not have an enjoyment of being out in the environment, then we really have lost the battle trying to argue these areas need to be conserved,” Mr Webster said.

“People need to have that love of being out in the environment to value it fully.”

Mr Cleeland added: “For many of the school groups, it’s the first time they have been in bushland or in a rockpool.”




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Posted by on Oct 15 2013. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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