THE State Natural Resource Management (NRM) Program will be funded until March 2019 necessitating that the last round of applications for Action Grants will be this year.
The future of the NRM program will be in the hands of the newly elected State Government.
During the last two years over 300 Action Grants have been supported by the State NRM Program. I am involved with three of them.
In winter 2016, 200 city high school students from two schools planted 18,000 seedlings on three farms in the Pingelly area. Pingelly farmer John Hassell said: “In many instances landcare would not happen without the NRM grants. This year’s project using school students to do the planting was a first for us.
“Its success is important because it has given us the impetus to embark on the whole farm plan, the Ribbons of Green project. The whole farm plan was a pipe dream without the NRM grant.”
This year 10 city schools will plant 20,000 seedlings in fire damaged reserves adjacent to the Yarloop town site, supported by the Shire of Harvey.
A further five city schools will plant 20,000 seedlings on farms near Pingelly and at Tutanning Reserve in conjunction with Department of Parks and Wildlife.
The 40,000 seedlings will offset the 2015 greenhouse gas emissions from all 15 schools involved in the Low Carbon Schools Pilot Program.
Over 800 staff and students will take part in these plantings, as well as spending an hour in local bush with Aboriginal elders experiencing indigenous history and culture.
These activities fall outside the normal Department of Education funding model and need to be supported from external sources.
State NRM funding for these projects delivers good environmental outcomes and excellent opportunities for city school students to learn about the country and contribute to the wellbeing of country communities.
State Natural Resource Management grants are a very important initiative and deserve a commitment from all sides of politics to continue beyond March 2019. BRUCE IVERS, Sustainability Consultant, Ardross.