Grade 5 and 6 students visit Werribee Open Range Zoo, marking the program's 10th anniversary.
In a celebration of nature and education, grade five and six students from Wyndham City recently embarked on an eye-opening adventure at the Werribee Open Range Zoo. This visit marked the 10th anniversary of the Love Your Locals Program, a commendable initiative aimed at teaching children about local threatened species and ways to protect them.
The Love Your Locals Program is a joint effort between Wyndham City Council, Brimbank City Council, Hobsons Bay City Council, and Werribee Open Range Zoo. It is conducted in schools throughout the western region, providing young minds with invaluable insights into the world of endangered wildlife.
Susan McIntyre, Mayor of Wyndham City, spoke passionately about the program’s significance, saying, “This program aligns perfectly with National Threatened Species Day, which raises awareness about plants and animals at risk of extinction, as well as National Biodiversity month.”
During their visit to the zoo, the students delved into the fascinating world of endangered species, learning about the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Orange-bellied parrot, and the Plains-wanderer. These creatures once thrived abundantly in the grasslands of Victoria’s Western Volcanic Plains, precisely where the participating schools are located.
McIntyre emphasized the uniqueness of their local ecosystems, stating, “We have some of the most unique and richly diverse ecosystems in the world, with much of Australia’s wildlife found nowhere else on the planet.”
The Love Your Locals Program is more than just an educational venture; it encourages students to brainstorm projects that could aid threatened wildlife in their region. These projects come to life through collaboration and culminate in a visit to Werribee Open Range Zoo, where students not only present their ideas but also get a chance to meet some of the native wildlife they’ve learned about and assist in habitat creation.
McIntyre highlighted the program’s positive impact, noting that it empowers individuals and communities to reduce their environmental footprint and protect endangered species. “This can be as simple as ensuring your cat is not roaming at night, picking up litter, or planting a native garden for habitat,” she urged.
A diverse array of schools participated in the Love Your Locals 2023 program, including:
– The Grange P-12 College
– Manor Lakes P12 College
– Point Cook P-9 College
– Cambridge Primary School
– Riverwalk Primary School
– Truganina South Primary School
– Al-Taqua College
– Little River Primary School
– Saltwater Primary School
– Iramoo Primary School
– Werribee Primary School
– Stella Maris Primary School
– Altona Meadows Primary School
– Queen of Peace Parish Primary School
As these young students continue to gain knowledge and take action to protect their local environment, the Love Your Locals Program remains an inspiring model of environmental education and community engagement. It not only marks a decade of success but also promises a brighter, more sustainable future for the threatened species that call Victoria’s Western Volcanic Plains home.