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Port Stephens crawling with local school students

Fifty local school students, teachers and parents will 'crawl' their way around Port Stephens this Thursday, 20 November, to learn how to improve our waterways.

The group will join local experts on an extensive 'catchment crawl' tour - incorporating Grahamstown Dam, Anna Bay and Boat Harbour - which will focus on the importance of protecting the Tomaree and Tomago Sandbeds as an important source of drinking water.

The annual Catchment Crawl is part of a range of projects being undertaken as part of a school engagement program funded by Hunter Water and delivered to schools through Hunter Local Land Services (LLS).

At Grahamstown Dam, the group will learn about the Port Stephens drinking water catchments, including the habitat they provide for plants and animals, and the impacts of human activities on these waterways.  

At Anna Bay, they will test water for turbidity, salinity, pH and temperature and dip net for water bugs to learn about the importance of waterway health.

At Boat Harbour, students will learn about Aboriginal culture and heritage values of the Port Stephens Sandbed catchments and participate in an Aboriginal dancing activity led by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) discovery rangers.

Students will also undertake a litter survey along the beach and learn about the issue of marine debris. The activity is designed to teach students about the need to be responsible for the thoughtful disposal of their own rubbish, from the top to the bottom of their catchment.

Rhys Blackmore, Water Quality Scientist from Hunter Water said the main aim of the program was to educate school students living in the Lower Hunter's drinking water catchments about ways they can help improve catchment health.

'The Catchment Crawl gives local students a great hands-on learning opportunity that provides an insight into what land managers are doing to limit their impact on the local environment, our rivers and our drinking water source,' Mr Blackmore said.

LLS School Engagement Officer, Jane Lloyd-Jones said many students participating in the Catchment Crawl were recently involved in a school brochure competition and a 'Caring for our Catchments' poster competition. These competitions saw students design informative brochures and posters to help reinforce the importance of water quality and caring for the catchment.

'Catchment Crawls provide a fun and educational way of highlighting the importance of caring for and protecting our drinking water catchments to local students and the broader community,'said Ms Lloyd-Jones.

Schools taking part in the crawl include Bobs Farm Public School, Anna Bay Public School, Medowie Public School, St Michael's Primary School Nelson Bay, and St Philips Christian College Salamander.

The Catchment Crawls are funded by Hunter Water Corporation with support from Hunter Local Land Services through its Hunter Catchment Contributions program.

Contact Jillian Ayre (Mon, Tues, Wed) 02 4938 4932 or Maree Whelan (Thurs, Fri) 02 4938 4932 or Mobile: 0418 960 817.