Involving kids encourages them to love nature and respect the outdoors
‘It was really interesting to see different coloured fungi and bats up close’ Arabella Crane, 7
Huon Valley Roamers Landcare began in 2014 with a vision to instil in every generation a love of caring for the environment, particularly amongst children.
The group, which meets in the southernmost local government of Australia – the Huon Valley Council, Tasmania – has a strong focus on event-based activities for families.
Roamers’ president Michelle Storer says the group’s greatest success and passion has been engaging with youth and kids.
“A large part of what we do is focused on educating future generations and inspiring them to love nature and respect the outdoors,” Michelle said.
“This is strategic because there are long-term benefits to engaging children. If they are involved in caring for the environment from a young age they are more likely to continue being involved later in life.”
Events such as fungi walks, bat monitoring nights, rubbish collecting and veggie growing challenges offer fun, family-friendly learning opportunities with hands-on experiences.
In particular, the group’s bat monitoring nights have been widely popular. There are at least eight bat species regularly inhabiting Tasmania, but until recently no one has been able to identify how many of these live in the Huon Valley.
Using a grant from Huon Valley Council, the group purchased bat monitors which can be plugged into a phone. These devises enable different bat species to be identified by recording bat calls in real-time and applying GPS location tags.
“My son and his friends came out on one of these nights and were really excited when they could hear the bats,” Michelle said.
“Previously they thought bats were gross, but now through this experience, they have a great appreciation for them.”
Children of the Roamers’ executive committee are also invited to group meetings and participate in suggesting ideas for events.
“We are constantly building on and evolving our vision to ensure our members are learning and having fun sharing their Landcare experiences,” Michelle said.
“Involving the kids at every level gives them a sense of achievement and nurtures excellent advocates for the natural environment.”
To learn more about Huon Valley Roamers Landcare, visit their Facebook page.