The Challenge

Throughout history the Darling River has had significant cultural value to the Aboriginal tribes that inhabited its banks. However following colonisation the river became subject to a range of adverse environmental impacts including the removal of snags, introduction of feral species and change in water patterns that significantly impacted the waterway and how the Aboriginals interacted with it. This raised a great challenge for locals in the Bourke area to not only restore the riparian zone but to ensure cultural connection was not lost.

The Solution

Bourke High School staff recognised this issue and worked together to create a Landcare group known as Yarra Landcare. The group is made up of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students who meet every Wednesday afternoon and take on projects that aim to rehabilitate a section of the Darling River and continue the connection with both culture and country. The group has engaged a range of stakeholders through National Parks, Western Landcare, Western Local Land Services and Local Council who have been able to provide resources and support to enable the group to undertake it’s fantastic work.

The Impact

Since the groups inception they have undertaken a range of projects including; water monitoring, macro invertebrate assessments, carp removal, rubbish removal, sight assessments, cultural sight surveys, erosion control and tree planting. The project has allowed for learning to occur beyond the classroom walls and a sense of appreciation for the water way to be developed. The High School has also developed a range of partnerships with Western Landcare, Western Local Land Services, Local Council and National Parks that has seen great community collaboration with a desired outcome. The Yarra Landcare group were also successful in winning the regional Landcare awards for the Western division and went onto become a champion at the 2017 Stale Landcare Awards in the Junior Landcare Category.

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