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Outdoor classroom sprouting new ideas in the Upper Hunter

Hunter Local Land Services has assisted community groups in Murrurundi to build a new outdoor learning area on the banks of the Pages River, to be shared by local schools.

Murrurundi Landcare - Pages River Warriors, received $5,000 from Hunter Local Land Services to construct the classroom. The group worked with the Murrurundi Men’s Shed, to build and install the sturdy timber benches and large blackboard on the river bank, close to Murrurundi Public School.

Hunter Local Land Services River Management Officer Fiona Marshall said working with passionate community groups to improve river bank management is a key way to build community awareness.

“Murrurundi Landcare has worked for many years to improve the natural environment along the Pages River, with annual weed control programs and revegetating with native species,” said Ms Marshall.

“They have worked closely with us and the Upper Hunter Weeds Authority to coordinate weed control activities in and around the urban areas of Murrurundi, including a recent program to spray Giant Reed using a drone.

“Unfortunately the current drought conditions have delayed further plantings of native species, but tubestock for the project provided by nearby Cressfield Horse Stud, is currently being cared for by the Cressfield Nursery until conditions improve.”

The new outdoor learning area has been constructed in a rehabilitated area of the river bank and provides an exciting learning opportunity for local students.

“The close proximity to local schools will allow teachers to program outdoor learning activities more regularly, particularly focusing on the local environment,” said Ms Marshall.

“Murrurundi Public Schools is already planning its first lesson later this month, where students will build a worm farm, and learn about native vegetation along the Pages River.”

This lesson will take place on Wednesday 29 August, when Upper Hunter Shire Council Mayor Wayne Bedggood officially opens the new classroom.

Coordinated regeneration activities and further control of weeds and exotic species including Giant Reed, Privet, Willows and Elms are being planned with project partners, with further native species plantings to be arranged once the drought conditions ease.