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Mayoral Column – Georges River in good hands for future generations

23/01/2023

Late last year I visited students at Connells Point Public School as they started their involvement in a special environmental education program to decrease litter and pollution in the Georges River.

They were our local school, one of six primary schools selected to be part of the ‘Zero Litter in Georges River’ program developed by Georges Riverkeeper with funding from the Federal Government.

The ‘Zero Litter in Georges River’ program provides environmental education, aligned to the NSW curriculum, about stormwater pollution, and encourages students to look for solutions to reduce litter flowing to the Georges River.

Supported by Councillor Peter Mahoney, I visited the school to see their first lesson with the Riverkeeper educator. After learning the top concerns for the river, and what we can do to help stop litter and pollution, the children set out with gusto to create artworks. One selected piece of art will soon be painted on local footpaths near stormwater drains to educate passers-by.

With quiet determination on their faces, they drew the river with animals, rubbish and acts of litter, and solutions, and powerful words in their colourful and detailed artworks. Each child had their own creative flair and point they passionately wanted to express.

One memorable and thought-provoking design had everyday plastic and metal items drawn as part of river animals’ bodies with the words “Reduce plastic to make the River fantastic”. A turtle was merged with a metal tuna can and a frog had the body of a plastic water bottle. A takeaway coffee cup represented a platypus and a plastic bag emulated the body of a jellyfish. They were really clever.

As the children showed me their designs, I could see the weight of understanding and acknowledgment of what they had learnt, how it made them feel and what they thought the best solution was.

You too can get a glimpse of their passion in the video of the students talking about what they learnt, and the footpath art being installed with QR codes this month. These are linked to the program information to help educate our community. You’ll soon be able to experience the innovative use of Augmented Reality technology in the selected artwork. By scanning the QR code, you can interact with a virtual long-neck turtle called ‘Zero’, one of the native animals found in the river that is threatened by pollution. What a wonderful new way to learn about the river and how to protect it.

I encourage you to experience it for yourself if you are in the area late January when it will be installed.

After seeing Connells Point Public School’s students’ commitment, determination, concern, and creative solutions, I am confident that the future of Georges River is in good hands.

For more information, visit Zero Litter in Georges River | Connells Point Public School.
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