Celebrating the launch of the Wetland Field Guide at Walker Swamp

With a lot of anticipation, back in October Lisa and I met with students from Hamilton Parklands School and Good Shepherd College at Walker Swamp for a final field trip. Since the start of the year, we have been working with students to co-develop a wetland discovery guide to accompany a new walking trail out at Walker Swamp. This last field trip was an opportunity for the students, teachers and community volunteers to see the end product, celebrate their achievements and have some fun in the sun! We were blessed with perfect conditions for a canoe around the swamp, led by Ramon from South West Adventures.

As the wetland guides were passed around over some morning tea, Lisa and I were delighted to hear positive feedback on the booklet. The guide is designed to be easy to read, and an engaging way of exploring the flora and fauna at Walker Swamp. You can view the booklet here. We hope that the four kilometre walking loop trail will be open to the public in the future, and that the guide can be available to anyone and everyone. In the meantime, it will be an excellent resource for us to use with other school groups and community members visiting Walker Swamp.

In developing this guide, we were very thankful for the support of our wonderful community volunteers: Andrew Taylor, Kylie Rose, Vivien Brodsky, Bill Weatherly, and Shelley Burrows. The volunteers supported students in the field to collect information for the guide, while sharing their passion, knowledge, and environmental expertise. It also created an opportunity for the students to build valuable community connections.

The canoeing was definitely a highlight of the day, but students were also able to get their hands dirty and assist with some tree planting. This was led by the wonderful Bill Weatherly from Friends of the Forgotten Woodlands. The students planted Banksias and She-oaks, and placed sturdy roo guards around them. For some, it was their first time planting and the thought of coming back in years to come to see these trees grow was a cool concept.

On reflection of this project, Lisa and I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to work with both the schools and the community volunteers on what has been a very rewarding experience. We wish to thank all those that have been involved. Below are some of their kind words.

‘This has been a wonderful opportunity for both schools to participate in and really enjoyable. I look forward to getting together on future projects.’ Sonya Holden, Principal of Hamilton Parklands School.

The activities mentioned in this article are part of a project called “Increasing diversity among environmental volunteers at Walker Swamp” which is supported by the Victorian Government through the 2021 Community Volunteer Action Grants.

Lauren Brown