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Venn L.,Paluma Environmental Education Center | Way C.,Education Queensland | Di Bella L.P.,Herbert Cane Productivity Services Ltd | Nash M.,Terrain NRM in the Wet Tropics
35th Annual Conference of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists 2013, ASSCT 2013 | Year: 2013

IN 2011, NEARLY two hundred students at eleven State primary schools located in the Herbert River catchment near Ingham participated in the Herbert Water Quality Monitoring Project. Five of these schools were also involved in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Reef Guardian Schools program. The Herbert Water Quality Monitoring Project is an ongoing project involving agencies representing primary industries (mostly cane and cattle), local government, scientific and natural resource management bodies. The project provides insight to land management practices. The lower Herbert catchment is mostly cane land and borders both the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Conscious management of farm run-off by cane farmers and of stream water quality by the whole community is therefore essential. The schools' section of the Herbert Water Quality Monitoring Project was based on the Earth Smarties, curriculum delivery model developed in 2010 by teachers working in two Queensland Department of Education programs focused on the teaching of science and sustainability at primary school level, and another departmental program aimed at introducing digital technologies to classrooms. The Earth Smarties, model has four steps: (1) Find partners with synergistic objectives; (2) Resource the project; (3) Provide professional development and training; (4) Celebrate achievements. This paper documents the implementation of a catchment water quality monitoring project at school level and the engagement of the local stakeholder agencies in the project. It also makes recommendations on how the Earth Smarties, model could be applied to other catchments and with other projects. The intention is to encourage and support the future engagement of school communities by other cane growing and natural resource agencies in significant local projects.

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