Pembroke and East Loddon College year nine students 
visit NUFG Kamarooka Project - 21 August 2009

For the third year in a row NUFG hosted a combined schools visit to its' Kamarooka Project for Year 9 students and teachers from East Loddon P-12 College and Pembroke College (Melbourne). Each year the students and teachers from both schools team up for reciprocal visits. According to the Pembroke teachers who keep coming back, the Kamarooka site is the best environmental education site in Victoria.

Over 60 students, teachers, NUFG members and NCCMA staff enjoyed a warm spring day in the 'Kamarooka bush', on a farm that has been transformed by perennial vegetation into one of the premier saltland reclamation sites in South Eastern Australia.

There were multiple objectives for the day. To have some fun, enjoy a time away from the day-to-day routine of classrooms, get some fresh air, provide an opportunity for city and country kids to talk and share experiences, and an opportunity to build this around some very practical educational opportunities. This was a chance to encourage young people to learn about soils, water, landscapes, climate, vegetation, land degradation, people, other animals, and farming systems. Perhaps another message in here was that communities can work together to achieve things they feel good about and that they are willing to share this knowledge. 

It was very good to see young people enjoying themselves and good to be able to hold their attention for long enough for us to get our messages across. We broke the students into three groups and gave them leaders that took them to strategically placed people able to talk to them and demonstrate issues that ranged from salinity, to plants as living organisms and their daily biological functions, plant adaptation and evolution to soil landscapes, linkages between landscape hydrology and farming systems, and optimising the location and management of plants to achieve multiple outcomes.

Trees and shrubs could be seen to provide for biodiversity and realise beautiful wood products, and that the amazing saltbush plant will grow in landscapes too saline to support other vegetation. There are ways we can work with nature in our farming systems to achieve both profit and conservation.

When all the demonstrations were over it was time to have a bit of fun over a barbeque and an impromptu game of cricket before climbing back on the buses and heading back to East Loddon for other adventures.

It was a great day enjoyed by all.