Melville Times - - Opinion -

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.

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