Terang College is a dual campus P – 12 College, located in the rural town of Terang (population approximately 2300) in the South Western District of Victoria. The closest major centre is the city of Warrnambool, some 45 km away.
Three years ago the College developed a strong partnership with the Terang Wetland Community Committee to support the re establishment of the neighbouring land to its original environment prior to farming activities.
This land has had many functions over recent years, from farmland, to a waterway, and a pine plantation. The local community was keen to re establish this area as a sustainable environmental area that reflected its original habitat and establish it as a resource for the whole community to utilise and enjoy. A community committee was established to oversee its redevelopment — this committee involves local government, local business, environmental groups, service clubs, community members and the school.
Through the support of grants from a range of sources, including the Myer Foundation, the committee has been able to begin the work required to achieve their objective.
Recently the Terang College explored ways in which their Year 9 students could be more engaged within their learning. As a result, and through the insight of Grant Long and Sue Pollock, the school developed a strong partnership with the Wetlands committee involving year 9 students in the ongoing development of the wetlands area.
The Community Wetland Project is adjacent to one of Terang Colleges sites and provides a real focus for the year 9 programs’ overarching theme of Sustainability as well as an interest to the day to day learning of all students at the college. The students work with the community committee focusing on identifying areas of further development, possible ideas and concepts and then working with the various partners in implementing their ideas for the wetlands.
In 2009 the students have taken responsibility from the two previous groups of year 9’s and is leading by example with the work initiated over the last few years.
The students gain a real sense of contributing to their local community and being involved in a project that they strongly believe they have been a central part of.
The schools involvement was supported by a PLT grant that allowed for the development of curriculum and learning activities.
In the classroom students link their study of a sustainable wetlands to other issues of sustainability such as; water in the Murray Darling system and from a global perspective with a study of Nigeria in Africa.
The project also provides the opportunity for the students to be involved in personal sustainability by looking at thinking and learning styles, mental health, drug and alcohol issues (working with CASA – the centre against sexual assault) and personal development programs with the REACH Foundation; investigating and testing the evidence for climate change; and investigating energy production and alternative energy sources. Input from a range of community service organisations has been critical in the provision of this learning.
The engagement of these young people, and their keenness to be involved in furthering the development of their community, has seen these young people more engaged in learning and having a greater sense of community.
If anyone would like to discuss this program further they are encouraged to contact Adam Box Principal Terang College on 03 55 921 349.