Students take the lead in a project to rehabilitate local creek

Gordonvale State School, QLD

Installation of bin and road-sign beside O'Leary's Creek

In Queensland, the students of Gordonvale State School set out to restore plant life to the derelict banks of O’Leary’s Creek. To help the wildlife in the stream, the school applied for a Westpac Junior Landcare grant to get the ball rolling on their ‘O’Leary’s Creek Rehabilitation Project’.

Receiving the grant in 2010, students and teachers planted native seedlings along the eastern side of the Creek to make new homes for birds, insects and aquatic creatures. Another important step was to transform the Creek into a tidy and welcoming nature reserve for the local community to enjoy.

Meeting with Mulgrave Landcare and Catchment Group, the Junior Landcarers involved themselves with the site preparation, plant selection and ongoing maintenance. An investigation of how the revegetation would change the diversity of fauna on the site was another significant step tying school learning together with hands-on stewardship of the local environment.

Once the grant had been used, the children took responsibility for the area monitoring, mapping and photographing the unique habitat that lay at their door-step.

Along the way, an ‘Adopt-A-Creek’ Program was developed to plan regular clean-ups to help sustain the health and beauty of the area. Data on the success of the reserve has also been shared with wildlife trusts including Tangaroa Blue Ocean Care Society and Queensland Fisheries. The students involved in the project also learnt important lessons on the legacy of environmental protection, linking their hard work to the long-term community impact.

Students have achieved their own targets by working with Cairns Regional Council to install an extra rubbish bin and erect a road-sign labeling the area as ‘O’Leary’s Creek’. This project has benefitted the local people and wildlife, but also, reflects an excellent dedication to sustainability and youth-lead project work that lies at the heart of Junior Landcare.