Photos help students monitor local environment
Students and the Warrnambool community can now do their part in monitoring the environment at two local coastal sites.
Fluker posts, which can be used by passers-by to take photos, have been installed at Point Ritchie overlooking the Hopkins River mouth and at Lady Bay near the slipway looking onto the beach.
The posts have been erected as part of a partnership between Warrnambool East Primary School, Deakin University and Victoria University, and builds on an existing relationship between the school and Deakin staff and students.
Photos from the posts are emailed to a publicly-available online repository and can be used by coastal authorities to gain information about the environment and to monitor any changes, such as erosion. The photos are also used as part of classroom science at Warrnambool East Primary School.
Fluker posts were developed by Dr Martin Fluker of Victoria University.
Warrnambool City Council agreed that both sites are worthy of environmental monitoring and approved installation of the posts. An earlier Fluker post was erected in the Merri marine sanctuary.
Deakin University has provided funds and advice and will do research documenting the initiative.
Senior Lecturer from the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University Warrnambool Campus, Dr Julianne Lynch, said that in terms of curriculum education the project is a fabulous initiative.
“It fosters ownership, responsibility and expertise in the students; so that when they go out into familiar locations they see it not only as a place to play, but as a place to care for. Because the students researched and selected the sites, they are more likely to have a sense of ownership and responsibility, both of the sites and of the new knowledge they are producing,” Dr Lynch said.
Each post has signage with some instructions for use.
As part of a new research partnership, researchers from Deakin and Victoria Universities will be tracking how the school uses the Fluker posts to support student learning, with a particular focus on students' understandings of their local environment, and their sense of ownership and responsibility.
Warrnambool East Primary School teacher leading the project, Nadine Frankel, said students studied the local environment and worked with many outside organisations to find the best locations for the Fluker Posts.
“The students are looking forward to taking this research further and monitoring these two valuable areas of Warrnambool's coastline. They will be using the photos to study changes in the environment and reporting these changes to the local CMA and Warrnambool City Council so the appropriate action can take place,” she said.
The students will also carry out other field work activities such as water quality testing and measuring the growth and health of vegetation.
“This project allows the students to make a real difference in our local community, and the wider community can become involved by sending in photos,” Ms Frankel said.
Fluker posts helping to monitor the local environment (ABC website)
Fluker posts provide a simple way to help our local environment, and all it requires is for you to take a photo.
Article and audio of Dr Julianne Lynch and Nadine Frankel talking about the project
Photo credit: ABC Radio Jeremy Lee