As part of the Year 1 Geography and Maths curriculum, a field trip was organised to help clean up Oxley and Town Beaches.

This coincided with our involvement in the Youth Against Marine Debris Challenge, run through the Mid North Coast Environmental and Sustainable Network. The children had immense fun… donned their gloves and set to work with great intent and vigour. Our spirits were initially dampened by the sight of the council tractor doing a great sweep of the beaches. However, we found so much degraded plastic amongst the driftwood brought in by recent heavy seas. Amongst all the hard work fun was had. A visit to the adventure playground for some play time before the children were set their next challenge. They had to map the playground with all its features and think about why they were there.

We also discussed the placement of bins and clearly came to the conclusion that their was not much incentive for smokers to bin their butts. Perhaps we need to take on the council next as collectively more than 600 butts were found! This indeed is very harmful to the marine environment as the filters do not break down but float in the water looking like food for fish. Squishy plastic, wrappers and straws were next on the list. We were fortunate to have Shalise from 5R attend on the day. She told the children that she has been instrumental in getting Council to install bins for lost fishing line and tackle at Lake Cathie. She brought along metres of fishing line, hooks and tackle that she finds as she cleans the bridge area weekly from abandoned lines. We were amazed that fishing line cannot be seen in the water and clearly causes lots of entanglement and death of marine creatures. The teachers and parent helpers were so impressed by the children’s exemplary behaviour and hard work and their understanding of the impact of debris in our environment. Their understanding and awareness augurs well for the future to lessen environmental impact.