January 24, 2024

The next generation is taking a proactive role in shaping the future of waterway health through participation in the River Detectives Program, run by five Catchment Management Authorities across Victoria

In 2023, Timboon P-12 school was one of 20 schools and 815 students to successfully participate in the River Detectives Program with primary and secondary school students trained in river health management techniques that empowered them with confidence to become environmental stewards.

River Detectives is a cross-curricular citizen-science program connecting teachers and young people with their local waterway. Through water-quality testing, macroinvertebrate sampling, and habitat surveys, students learn about the importance of catchment health and their role in caring for it.

The program is available to schools and youth groups in five regions across Victoria, and registrations for 2024 schools are currently open, with applications closing on February 14th.

The chosen monitoring site for Timboon P-12 school was on the Curdies River at the tourist icon of Trestle Bridge, a beloved spot for locals and holidaymakers. 

Debbie Dalziel of Curdies Valley Landcare Group and Corangamite Catchment Management Authority’s River Detectives Coordinator Deirdre Murphy, trained students in water-quality testing and water bug identification, two critical components of how the Corangamite CMA makes informed decisions to manage waterway health.

River Detectives is a free, flexible and fun way to connect young people to nature through monthly water quality testing. Students learn how water, land, plants, animals, people and communities are integrally linked, and schools are provided with equipment, training and teaching resources.

Timboon Agriculture Project (TAP) Coordinator Andrea Vallance said, “As more teachers access the training and resources on offer from River Detectives in coming years, and as students move through year levels engaging with the river in different ways, we expect the interest and enthusiasm for the Curdies River, its catchment, and estuary will flow strongly through the district.”  

Corangamite Catchment Management Authority’s River Detectives Coordinator, Deirdre Murphy, said, “Students learnt a lot about the causes and impacts of water quality changes and how land use upstream can affect water quality all the way down to the estuary.”

“River Detectives is an engaging, citizen-science, sustainability program that will help students to value waterways as the life-blood of the land - a very important value in these times of environmental change,” she said. 

For more information about River Detectives, Email, or to register, please visit


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