The day started with Mornington Peninsula Ambassadors joining together for what seemed to be an overcast, warm day. Yet within an hour the rains came, teasing us with some light drizzle then continuing on with rain heavy enough to leave shoes, shoulders and heads wet.
Nevertheless, the workshop continued with smiles all round! Ambassadors rotated between four activities, each running for 40 minutes. Activity 1 was an Indigenous presentation carried out by Lionel Lauch. During this presentation, Lionel spoke of traditional Indigenous culture and heritage, sharing his amazing knowledge of the land on which we live and the incredible resources we have around us.
Activity 2 was carried out by either Jess or myself (Ellen Nougher – DRI intern) and was based on the species of frogs commonly found in the Melbourne region. Melbourne Water has created a volunteer-run community monitoring program called the Frog Census. We used this program to play the sounds of the distinguishing features of the common species frogs to the Ambassadors. Whilst we have a large number of frog species that are in secure populations, a number of species are vulnerable or endangered. The reasons for this were outlined in the activity, including some of the ways the Ambassadors can help certain frog species to strengthen in population size. Ambassadors also got a laugh out of the 'froggy friend' matching game which was carried out by Ambassadors finding partners based on their "frog call" (film canisters with different objects inside).
Activity 3 was a walk and talk session run by Hannah from Naturelinks. She covered native species, pests, feral animals and some of those that are common to the Warringine Park. The Ambassadors got to look at bones and skeletons of different animals and explored some of the tracks and signs of certain animals.
The final Activity was a weeding session run by Gerard from Warringine Park, and the Green Army. Here Ambassadors were able to get their hands dirty - cleaning out some of the introduced species of plants and weeds that can take over the environment and threaten our native species of plants and animals.
Embracing the persistent rain - Ambassadors, presenters, teachers and helping parents were treated to a sausage sizzle to warm us up - and marked the end of another successful year of ISIC workshops. Following this, awards were given to those who have gone above and beyond throughout the year, including presentations of our new ISIC plaques to each and every school that is a part of the ISIC program.
To our Ambassadors, thank you for always smiling, having such a caring nature and always putting in 100%. To our presenters, teaching and helping parents - everything you do is always appreciated and it wouldn't all be possible without you. Well done, and see you again next year!
Written by Ellen Nougher, DRI intern from Monash University, Masters of Teaching