Summer holiday science for local students

Summer holiday science school students from around Australia were astounded by the landscape transformation and improved ecology they witnessed during a recent tour near Wyangala Dam.

The Rotary National Summer Science Forum annually visits the Cowra-Canowindra district to give their students environmental, agricultural and ecological education as part of their January school holiday program.

Yr 12 student, William Wright from Canowindra High School, was selected to be part of this prestigious tour.  

“After a session at the Age of Fishes Museum, we were shown ‘before and after’ photos of the farmland in the Hovells Creek Landcare district near Wyangala,” he said.

“We were told this area once suffered from dramatic erosion.

“Then we were shown how, over the past twenty years, erosion control, tree and shrub planting and connectivity through 60,000 acres of neighboring farms has made it look a lot more productive and healthy. 

“It is so great to see that massive erosion gullies can be transformed into productive tree belts, giving shade and shelter to stock and providing homes for spiders that eat red-legged earth-mites.”

Mid-Lachlan Landcare Education Officer, Trudi Refshauge, led the tour that began with a power point presentation.

“We thought it was important to explain the ‘free agricultural services’ native insects, birds and mammals in the tree lots offer to farmers,” she said. 

“For example, moths, flies, beetles and bees (exotic and native) are all important pollinators.

“They play a critical role in aiding reproduction to many plants in our food chain.

“I am so proud of the work Hovells Creek Landcare members have done to improve native ecology, while benefiting agricultural production on their farms.

“It feels good to improve habitat for endangered and declining native birds and in return get regular free fertilizer from their droppings and watch them clean up the pest grass-hoppers,” she said.

Queensland Yr 12 student, Emma found the tour “inspirational”.

“We have had three weeks of amazing field trips but this has been the best one of all”, she said.  

“I am definitely going to contact the nearest Intrepid Landcare group (Landcare for young people) when I go back to Queensland.”