Students from Margaret River were on the national stage today, presenting their epic environmental projects to hundreds of key environment and conservation decison-makers attending the National NRM Knowledge Conference hosted at the Margaret River HEART this week.

And they were introduced to the stage by Gardening Australia’s Josh Byrne, who said he was “so impressed” by the calibre of the Year 6 kids’ research and innovation. “They’ve all done an incredible job. These projects are really well researched and thought out,” he said.

A sample of students from five different local schools presented their projects from Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s Our Patch program – each identifying a different environmental issue that the students have analysed and devised solutions to. It was the culmination of a year-long project, with the kids learning about what makes the environment in their local catchment so special and how it can be cared for now and into the future.

Each school took on a particular environmental issue they identified in their area, finding innovative solutions to project the local ecosystem or biodiversity. Cowaramup Primary School who teamed up with Department of Fisheries and Murdoch University researchers to combat feral goldfish in their local waterway. Margaret River Montessori School students put the Yalgardup Brook under the microscope and devised ways to protect the waterway’s namesake – the yalgar (native carrot). Margaret River Independent School students designed a water catchment area to demonstrate the effect of pollution in waterways, which will now be used for future classes on the subject. Rapids Landing Primary School explored litter and cleaning up our natural areas. And Margaret River Primary School devised new shelters to boost the breeding success of critically endangered hooded plovers, helping to bring the iconic birds back from the brink of extinction.

Nature Conservation’s Our Patch officer Lauren Scanlon said the students’ Our Patch projects would make a real difference to the community and environment.

“What makes Our Patch so special is that the students go out on country, learn about our unique river system, conduct their own scientific research and make assessments,” she said. “When they spend time along the river and hear from local people dedicated to protecting the catchment, they understand the threats and they’re inspired to take action and find solutions to protect this special place.”

Our Patch is generously funded by Lions Club of Cowaramup, Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, Margaret River Rotary, the Paskerville Foundation and local schools.