In an era when more children and adults are disconnected from nature than ever before, there is an imperative for conservationists to get involved with environmental education and outdoor learning targeted at a range of groups throughout the community.
Workshops and educational materials can give landholders and members of the public the tools and knowledge needed to understand and address environmental challenges by adopting new land management practices or engaging in community conservation and Citizen Science projects. Environmental education targeted at school-aged students engages them in learning, raises test scores, and encourages young people to pursue a career in conservation and natural resources management, in order to become the next generation of ‘Great Eastern Rangers’.
Educational projects carried out by GER partners include:
- Developing products to complement school curricula by providing resources and tools that can be used by teachers in classrooms and field trip. For example, the ‘ConnectKids’ Aboriginal resource kit is an interactive CD-ROM developed by the GER Border Ranges Alliance, which presents information about the biodiversity value of the Border Ranges and their significance to the Traditional Owners, and suggests conservation actions for students to implement.
- Running youth empowerment and leadership skills development programs such as Youth Leading the GER
- Providing family friendly and school-targeted environmental survey and monitoring activities. Some examples of this include MyRiver, a program which engages schools in conducting environmental fieldwork, identifying ecological threats and values, and developing a river vision and action plans, and ‘BioBlitz’ events in the Slopes to Summit regional partnership area.
- Offering public information sessions, property tours and workshops to enable participation in private land conservation programs, such as the Stepping Stones project in the Hunter Valley Partnership, and Citizen Science projects such as the Great Koala Count.