Hunter Valley schools get on track with Landcare projects

When they return from winter holidays, hundreds of students will be getting down and dirty at 29 New South Wales schools as they kick-off their Junior Landcare projects funded through the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) grants.
The ARTC grants program invited Hunter Valley and regional New South Wales schools neighbouring the freight rail network to pitch their environmental ideas for funding. ARTC recently announced a total of nearly $30,000 worth of funding would be provided to deliver the exciting school projects and promote safe rail behaviours.

A broad range of projects are being funded including veggie gardens, permaculture gardens, native gardens, worm farms, recycling projects and sensory gardens.

Landcare partnership manager, Adin Lang said, “Junior Landcare grants encourage young people to play an active role in ensuring the safe future of their environment and to develop a sense of responsibility to the land and other natural resources that they will inherit in future years.”

Wayne Johnson, ARTC’s Group Executive Hunter Valley said the program also offers a great opportunity to encourage safe behaviours of students and parents around the busy railway. “We regularly have train drivers report trespass sightings of school students and we think initiatives like this provide an opportunity to open dialogue with schools and build respect for the railway.”

ARTC and Landcare Australia visited Metford Public School, East Maitland Public School, and Hunter River Community School to meet students and teachers who will be implementing the Junior Landcare projects and personally present the schools with their grant cheques.

ARTC owns and operates the Hunter Valley rail network which extends from Newcastle to Northstar and west to Dubbo. ARTC has a major focus on both community and rail safety. ARTC manages an 8,500km rail network across five states with a focus on maintaining the safe transit of freight and passenger trains daily.

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