October 20, 2022

Oberon High year 10 students have a deeper understanding of the importance of dune ecosystems in Ocean Grove thanks to an Indigenous cultural heritage education session led by Wadawurrung Traditional Owner Anie Skinner.

The ‘Dunecare Secondary Schools Program’ incorporates on ground conservation activities with Indigenous cultural heritage education. Students learn from Wadawurrung Traditional Owners about the significance of the dunes and surrounding ecosystems to the Wadawurrung People.

Students are also learning about the importance of habitat conservation and biodiversity protection practices. The program aims to develop student and community stewardship for local dune conservation and protection. It provides an opportunity for students to receive hands-on experience carrying out revegetation activities like planting, litter collection, and brush matting.

The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority’s Dunecare Secondary Schools Program is a partnership between local secondary schools including Oberon High, St Ignatius College, North Geelong Secondary College, Kardinia International College, Bellarine SC, St Joseph’s Flexible Learning, Geelong Lutheran College, and Belmont High School to promote coastal environmental education, with a central focus on dune ecosystems.

Year 10 Oberon High School Teacher Kate Anderson said her class of year 10 students actively look forward to the Dunecare Schools Program sessions and are excited to contribute to the rehabilitation of the dunes.

Mrs Anderson continued, “The best thing about the program is that it encourages the students to consider their direct impact on the coast. Our students get to take part in lively discussions and learn from Wadawurrung Traditional Owners about the importance of conservation”.

Year 10 Oberon High School student Sienna Meaney, said “The Dunecare Secondary Schools Program gave our class an insight into the real environmental issues facing our Dune systems today,"

“Fortunately, we were lucky enough to be able to plant coastal grasses to strengthen the Dune system. This program was very beneficial as most of us were unaware of the effects and causes of our actions on these special ecosystems” Miss Meaney continued.

The Dunecare Secondary Schools Program is delivered by Bellarine Catchment Network, Ecologic, Marine and Fresh Water Discovery Centre, the Victorian Fisheries Authority, with support from the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation.

This Initiative is supported by the Australian Government’s Dunecare on-ground works program, a strategic plan that priorities costal dune protection sites and protects fragile coastal dune systems that support native flora and fauna habitat by working in partnership with coastal public land managers between St.Leonards and Marengo.

This project is funded by the Australian Government.

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