The Canning River was the perfect outdoor classroom for over 500 primary school students during the 2019 Earth Day Expo, held on Friday 5 April. The Canning River Environmental Education Centre and the Australian Association for Environmental Education jointly run this annual event to inspire and involve primary school students in tackling topical sustainability issues.

Partner organisations from government, private industry and community sectors were involved in the whole day excursion by hosting presentations and organising educational activities. During the Expo, students creatively and critically considered how to generate sustainable change at home, in their classrooms, and the wider community. The Expo demonstrated a wide array of sustainability topics including resource recovery, water preservation, wildlife conservation, biosecurity, and many more.

Perth NRM was involved with support from our Swan Canning River Recovery (SCRR) program. SCRR Coordinator, Jason Pitman, developed an interactive exercise for  teams of students to conduct weed assessments in predetermined quadrats. Students learnt about the impact of invasive weed species and gained a greater understanding of how they can help control their spread. During the activity, students needed to identify both native and invasive species, map weed presence, and assess their impact within each quadrat.

“It was profound how quickly students were able to distinguish between common native and invasive plant species despite many distinguishing flowers not in bloom,” Mr Pitman said.

“Students were certainly in their element when mapping each quadrat and assessing the level of ‘weediness’. I was impressed by the level of detail many students  put into their maps and assessments. Students, teachers, and parents seem to leave with a little more appreciation for our native species – and, I think, many are going to consider whether their own backyards are harbouring environmental weeds.”

Thank you to everyone who visited Perth NRM on the day and participated in the Expo. If you want to find out more about the Swan Canning River Recovery project, or book a school talk, contact Jason.pitman@perthnrm.com.

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