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Hands on work a bonus for students

Thursday 17 July, 2014

Parks Victoria Ranger Shane Reger has been providing hands on working experience for TAFE and University students for nearly twelve years. Over that time he’s shown hundreds of young people how to put into practice what they’re learning in the classroom.

This time the lucky group were three students doing Diplomas in Conservation and Land Management at Swinburne TAFE in Wantirna and two from Melbourne University doing Bachelor Degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering.

Shane put the group to work at the pond and spillway areas of the Maroondah Reservoir, a popular spot that needed a revamp.

For two weeks they overhauled the pond/spillway area, clearing pathways and restoring garden beds. They also helped out at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve working in the nursery and doing some re-vegetation for the endangered Helmeted Honeyeater and Leadbeaters Possum.

Shane says it’s not just about students getting their hands dirty, "They get a lot of different experiences; working in a team, problem solving, dealing with cultural heritage issues, and the satisfaction of completing a project they can be proud of."

The students really enjoyed the experience and say they've been inspired about conservation and land management.  

"Working at Yellingbo was good because we were rebuilding habitat for endangered species, but working at the Maroondah Reservoir Park was even better because we could see what we've done immediately," said Paul.

"I had an idea of what I wanted to do and this has confirmed that more and it's inspiring. It makes me want to go back and do better at the course," he said.

"I now know more of what I want to do in the future," said Alicia, "What areas I’d prefer to work in.

"The people we've worked with, you see how passionate they are, and that they actually enjoy working. That’s what you want to do."

Shane says there's been lots of positive feedback from the general public. "When we were working there, people would come up and say how wonderful the work was that we were doing, and that they could see the pond area again. And they all said 'Keep up the good work'."

In return for their efforts the students were presented with a Volunteers Certificate for the 60 hours work they each contributed, and enjoyed a barbecue at the revived reservoir site.  The group will return in September to check on their work and do some more planting and maintenance.

 

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