RCE Greater Western Sydney-2015

1. Project Title: 
Love Your Lagoons
2. Thematic area/s addressed by the project
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3. Project partner contact information : 
Western Sydney University
Principal Investigator
Main Contact: 
Professor Margaret Somerville
4. Project type
Select the relevant type for your project: 
5. Project description
Provide a short description of the project including strategies, regional challenges, aims and specific project activities.: 

Wetlands, streams and rivers are key sites for environmental action and education (Somerville and Green, 2012). In this multi-council and school environmental education project 300 school students were empowered to learn about environmental sustainability through taking action in their local area. Each of the proposed shire councils - Camden City Council, Wollondilly Council and Campbelltown City Council - were partnered with local schools to work with UWS and community and government organisations, to undertake a participatory action research study of place based wetlands education in local primary and high schools. This assisted in the preparation of teachers for the introduction of sustainability as a cross-curriculum priority area (ACARA, 2012).

Highlights and successes

1. Participation

a. Engagement

Interest from schools was high. The number of schools wishing to attend the planning day exceeded the 340 maximum capacity of the main UWS lecture theatre. Approximately three hundred primary and secondary students from three local government areas of the Macarthur region attended the planning day on 18 February 2014 with their class teachers and community educators.

b. Sustained interest

After the planning day, nine schools were offered and six schools actively took up the research project opportunity to integrate sustainability into their curriculum through investigating a local wetland.

c. Extension to wider groups of students

Mt Annan and CPAHS high schools chose to extend Love Your Lagoons activities to all students at a particular year level; eg Mt Annan at Year 7 and CPAHS at Year 9.

7. Provide references and reference materials : 
6. Project status
While the Love your Lagoons funded project is completed the work continues in the Macarthur region.
All project schools indicated a level of success in integrating sustainability into their curriculum through the medium of their local wetlands. There was a range of involvement, with many highlights represented by just a few examples in this report.
• All schools have indicated an interest in continuing similar projects as part of their future educational activities
• The sustainability education examples in Love Your Lagoons will contribute to empirical research literature on Education for Sustainability in school contexts
• Three teachers are involved in direct co-authorship of LYL case studies
• Case studies are being co-authored by project researchers and teachers for an invited book proposal to be considered by Palgrave McMillan Academic publishers in 2015

Community continuity

• Wollondilly Shire Council LYL Schools folded into the ‘adopt an environment program’ with council
• Australian Museum in a box has been very successful with five boxes being accessed by schools
• Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living has connected in an ongoing way to Mount Annan High School to use sites at their Eco farm as a practical demonstration project for the year 11 primary industry program delivered by VET

8. Tagging