Cowra considered an “educational hot-spot”

Teachers from local Primary and Secondary schools listen to Andrew Woolridge’s 380 million year explanation about the view from Billygoat Hill lookout.
Teachers from local Primary and Secondary schools listen to Andrew Woolridge’s 380 million year explanation about the view from Billygoat Hill lookout.

Teachers from six of Cowra and Canowindra’s local schools spent last Friday at the lookout on Billygoat Hill learning why Cowra is such a fascinating educational hot-spot.

“The location of Cowra is of enormous interest to educators and students from all over Australia and around the world,” Mid Lachlan Landcare Education Officer, Trudi Refshauge said.

“We wanted to update our local teachers and students on all of the fascinating issues we expose to visiting tour groups.”

Local scientist and salinity expert Andrew Wooldridge told how German University students visit Australia specifically to stand on Billygoat Hill Lookout and observe the Lachlan Fold Belt.

“From here you can see three different shaped hills representing 380 million years of geomorphic and fossil history. You can see at least five different soil types initially formed by tectonic plates crashing on top of each other.

“Problems like erosion and salinity can be more easily explained when you stand right here,” he said.

The location and function of the Lachlan River within the Murray Darling Basin was another topic covered.

“I am hoping some of the teachers will trial a new teaching resource being developed on water uses and management,” Ecologist, Jo Lenehan, from the Office of Environment and Heritage, said. 

Liz Davis from the Central Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS) gave out resources developed by universities, the Department of Primary Industries and the LLS including a Bee Hotel.

“The free agricultural service our pollinators, native birds and insects play in healthy food production is becoming increasingly recognised and important,” she said.

“The decline of paddock trees, logs and hollows from the landscape was an issue all of the presenters addressed. Our agricultural systems will eventually suffer from the loss of these. We are losing them faster than they are being regenerated,” Refshauge said.

“Shade trees and shelter belts have never been more important to have in grazing paddocks. Heat stress affects livestock health and performance. Shelter from wind has been proven to lift survival of lambs and sheep off shears. Also having rich and diverse native bird and insect predator populations living in these shelter belts is helpful to farmers,” she said.

“Each year, we run education tours for senior students outside the Cowra district studying Food Technology, Biology, Agriculture and Earth and Environmental Science. They are all interested in the fossil history and land and water uses but most significantly, they are interested in the sustainable and regenerative practices happening in conjunction with agriculture and food production,” she said.

“It was a worthwhile topic relevant to all years of learning,” Participant Roxanne Breen from St Edwards, Canowindra, said. 

“What a fantastic day with extremely knowledgeable presenters. Lots of great ideas to take back to school,” Tracey Blattman from Neville Public said.

Clint Cole from Cowra High described the day as “awesome. I love the resources we were given”. 

The February 9 seminar for local teachers “linking Biodiversity to all stages of the curriculum - Primary to Senior High School” was run by Mid Lachlan Landcare and offered to all private and State schools from the Cowra and Canowindra region.