Tasmania’s WildSC'OOL program is a partnership between a local school, local volunteers or volunteer group (WILDCARE Inc. members) and local Parks and Wildlife Staff.
Students of Snug Primary after a day of WildSC'OOL activities at Conningham Nature Recreation Area
Our WildSC'OOLs - past and present
The aim is to encourage students to have an active role in our local parks and reserves by working with identified volunteers on a regular basis and liaising with parks staff.
How the Program works
The program relies on the school having regular access to a local reserve where they can undertake environmental activities under the guidance of a local volunteer group with support from the local Parks and Wildlife staff.
The aim is to develop a long term partnership between the school and a local reserve for real-life volunteer projects working with local Parks staff facilitated by keen local WILDCARE Inc. volunteers.
Where do the volunteers come from?
- Schools can source local volunteers from their school community – ex teachers, parents etc. who would be interested in assisting students with environmental education programs.
- Or a call-out can be made to WILDCARE Inc. to find local volunteers already in their area such as Friends of local reserves or National Park groups.
- Often a combination of these two works best where a trained volunteer educator joins with a local “Friends Of” group to immerse the students in real-life environmental outcomes.
- All volunteers will need to become members with WILDCARE Inc. and have the appropriate working with children checks done.
What do WildSC’OOLs receive?
- Initially WILDCARE Inc. provides a small grant ($500pa for two years) to successful schools to assist with coach transport and other program related costs to get them started.
- Active WildSC’OOLS will be given a sign for their school along with one free visit by a Discovery Ranger each year as part of their environmental education program.
- By setting up their own WILDCARE Inc. volunteer group or working with a pre-existing group schools can apply for additional funding grants.
What is the role of volunteers?
Collectively volunteers will provide the school with 40 hours a year of their time to enhance the students understanding of environmental education and liaise with teachers and Parks staff to ensure practical environmental outcomes are achieved within a local reserve. Volunteers will provide environmental education programs within the school classroom or playground and in local reserves.
What is the role of Parks staff?
Parks staff either rangers or other specialist staff will meet several times a year with both teachers and volunteers to develop a practical component that students can be involved with in that promotes in-reserve management, public education or conservation works and a sense of local steward ship. Parks staff will be available on negotiated days that students come onto reserved land to undertake such works. They will also facilitate relationships between volunteers, teachers and other specialists.
Once a school is accepted onto the WildSC'OOL program, the trained volunteer(s), a Regional Volunteer Facilitator from Parks and Wildlife Service and teacher(s) will meet to discuss and agree on a program, time commitments and School Environmental Management Plan (SEMP) requirements, aims and outcomes for the students and the environment.
From this, the volunteer(s) and teacher(s) will develop a program that may include sessions in the classroom, landcare activities in the playground and volunteer activity in a local reserve.
To help you better understand this program, here are examples of things that may be included as part of WildSC'OOL:
- Trained volunteers assisting teachers to provide inspiring, innovative and exciting environmental education activities in the classroom
- Trained volunteers coordinating visits to the school by environment specialists, including Park Rangers.
- Trained volunteers supporting schoolyard greening projects, including projects such as designing a green habitat garden, seed collection and propagation, and native species planting
- Trained volunteers helping to coordinate and manage field excursions
- Students working alongside National Park Rangers during field excursions and camps, undertaking volunteer projects such as revegetating degraded native bush, erosion control, track building and maintenance, building maintenance, wildlife monitoring, visitor education, weeding and so on.
Interested schools should provide an Expression of Interest to Ingrid.Albion@parks.tas.gov.au
- Name of School.
- Teachers and classes that wish to be involved.
- Learning Focus Area that you may be interested in.
- Any existing relationships your school has with local environments, National Parks or reserves.
- Any local volunteers that you know of who might like to be involved.
- A sign-off by your Principal to indicate whole-of-school commitment to applying to be a WildSC'OOL.
Schools will need to sign agreements with park managers and with their local volunteer as described in the two forms: Agreement between School and VEE (Volunteer Environmental Educator) and Agreement between School and the PWS local ranger.
How the Process Works
Each year one to two training sessions will be run in a region linking the school with local PWS and volunteers. Schools selected are prioritised on a regional basis. A call out is then made for volunteers who can commit up to 40 hours a year to work with that school encouraging ongoing sustainable environmental activities both within the school grounds and nearby local reserves.
Schools can send an expression of interest in being involved in this program at any time.