Program helps kids care for land

MOUNT Whitestone School is one of 61 Australian schools that will shortly begin working on sustainability projects as a result of a new Junior Landcare grants program.

The Westpac Junior Landcare Student Sustainability Grants program, which was launched last year by popular Channel Nine personality, and co-host of Getaway, Catriona Rowntree, invited applications from Year 5 and 6 students who wanted to plan and implement environmental sustainability initiatives in their schools or local communities.

Over 200 applications were received from across the country which proposed a wide range of projects, including waste reduction, water quality testing, restoring wildlife habitats and increasing biodiversity.

The projects involve the primary-school students teaming up with a local Landcare group and local high school students, who will provide some essential mentoring through the early implementation stages.

This enables the students to make use of the experience and knowledge that exists in their community and gain a greater understanding of the skills required when tackling local environmental issues.

Mount Whitestone School will put the money awarded towards creating edible gardens and further developing the schools' native garden areas.

“We are delighted to award this prize to the enthusiastic students of Mount Whitestone School,” Westpac Nambour Bank Manager Sue Kennedy said.

“Westpac wants to encourage sustainability in our young leaders of the future, and we hope that developing leadership skills in this area from an early age will encourage an interest in, and passion for, environmental issues.”

Landcare Australia CEO, Heather Campbell, welcomed the interest in the grants program and was encouraged by the opportunity to foster a new generation of Landcarers.

“The variety of projects and ideas that we have seen in the application stages of this grants program proves that we have a whole new generation of Landcarers across the country who have a desire to work towards improving their local environment,” Ms Campbell said.

“It is truly inspirational to see the passion that these young people have for caring for their environment and I look forward to the end results of their efforts.”

Schools interested in applying for Junior Landcare grants can find more information on the Junior Landcare website: www.juniorlandcare.com.au


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