All aboard! On the Saturday 17th October 5 teams of students and teachers from five Mildura Schools: Red Cliffs Secondary College, St Joseph’s College, Sacred Heart, Irymple Secondary College and us: Mildura West Primary School travelled on a bus for 10 hours to go to Canberra for the International River Health Conference. There were 48 people on the bus. On the way we got to meet each other and soon learnt names of the people on board the bus. This was a highlight of our trip meeting new people from our district.
We were very fortunate and thankful to have sponsorship and donations of goods from Mallee Catchment Authority, Australia Post, Woolworths and Bunnings to make the trip possible for all of us.
Our presentation called ‘Let the Rivers Run?’ was about river regulation and all the benefits but also looked at some unfortunate disadvantages such as the suffering by the River Red Gum trees. We looked at four major structures to include in the performance. It was a lock, weir, regulator and a fish ladder. Our presentation was well planned and very enjoyable. We worked hard to research the topic and were able to do this with the help of our mentor, Paula Robinson from Mallee Catchment Authority and changed our presentation many times to make it better and easier to understand for the audience. Our introduction was an analogy showing how the rivers used to run free carving their own journey and now regulation helps many people and animals with their use of the river.
At the end of the presentation where we taught the audience how all of these structures worked for river regulation, we invited the kids do hands on activities building these particular structures: a regulator which stops big fish getting through and encourages breeding of native fish – excluding pesky carp, a weir that controls the flow of the water, a lock that lets the boats through taking the boats to the different water levels and a fishladder that lets the fish ‘detour’ around a lock and/or a weir.
At the Conference we learnt that to have an impact on climate change we all need to reduce our footprint by using environmentally friendly actions. None of the things we need to do are difficult such use energy wisely – turn off the lights, computers, use green reusable bags to go shopping, carpool and use less water. It is important to get family and friends involved with reducing their footprint so they are more resourceful.
Some of the highlights: being on live Internet with our presentation, meeting new people, going to new places, learning from other kids across Australia, learning about the environment and just being chosen to go!
One of the best things we learnt was that no matter how small you are you can still be heard when you have something worthwhile to say about the environment.
It was a great trip and we all hope that more children from our district can go in the future. We would recommend this experience to anyone who is interested in environmental issues. The River Health Conference has been a life changing opportunity and we will remember it for the rest of our lives.
Mildura West PS River Health Team 2009