Golden schooling

LEARN: Park Ranger Mark McKimmie looks at different rocks with Aaron Gauci and Blake Howarth. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

LEARN: Park Ranger Mark McKimmie looks at different rocks with Aaron Gauci and Blake Howarth. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

 TEACH: Park Ranger Mark McKimmie. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

TEACH: Park Ranger Mark McKimmie. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Lockwood Primary school students endeavored to learn all about the golden days of Bendigo last week.

More than 45 students from grade three and four visited Notley picnic and camping ground in the Whipstick Forest.

The children were greeted by representatives from Parks Victoria and Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

Acting principal Sally Rule supported the teachers of the composite grades, Helen Hosking and Lauren McEwan.

Ms Rule said last term the children had studied gold and attended a camp at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat.

"This term they are studying natural resources and then next term we will be looking at mining in more depth," she said.

"The purpose of the excursion was to look at how the greater Bendigo national park was linked to the gold rush era.

"In the gold rush they diluted the density of the forest to such an extent that there is only 17 per cent left.

"We were trying to explain to the kids that what is left is really special and unique.

"Because it just looks like scrubby bush people do not realise how important it is." 

The outdoor lesson was part of the active learning environment the school has created.

Ms Rule said the children have responded well to this method of learning.

She said the teachers have been 'amazed at the quality of questioning' received by the students.

"They just like learning that way," she said.

Parks Victoria ranger Mark McKimmie assisted the education session along with fellow ranger Sam Falkingham and DEPI worker John Hosking.

Mr McKimmie's presentation concentrated on the link of the national park and the history of mining in the region.

"We shared with the kids why the bush area looks like it does," he said.

"The children had been studying mining in class so they knew what I was talking about.

"The park was influenced by mining and grazing activities, I spoke about that.

"We spoke about how the bush looks."

Mr McKimmie said he had not had many opportunities to educate people on the importance of caring for nature.

"Our job in a lot of ways is protection of the bush, the history and indigenous culture," he said.

"It is a great opportunity for the kids to learn at an early age so later on they can help to look after this environment."

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