North East CMA recently attended the Alpine Shire Council’s Resilience Emergency Action Planning (REAP) Day for grade 4-6 students from local Primary Schools including Bright, Porepunkah, Wandiligong and Harrietville. Throughout the day students rotated through sessions run by different agencies/organisations including: North East CMA, Country Fire Authority, Victoria Police, Victorian State Emergency Service, Parks Victoria, Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, Red Cross, Gateway Health, and the Ovens/Kiewa Veterinary Hospital. Each session had a linkage to resilience, the environment, and planning for emergencies.
North East CMA ran five sessions throughout the day related to the Mountain Pygmy-possum recovery, using the possum as an entry point to discuss climate change related emergencies. The students worked together to build habitat dioramas for the Mountain Pygmy-possum, learning about the key habitat features and threats to the species along the way. Everyone had a ball creating the habitat dioramas, and discussing the importance of working together to protect the environment. The students were enthusiastic and had many bright ideas to share.
Ideas to protect the Mountain Pygmy-possum suggested by the students included:
- Keep your cats indoors at all times
- Turn your lights off at night to help the Bogong Moth reach the mountains
- Put out any campfires to reduce the risk of bushfire
- Don’t drive skidoos or snow machinery near possums
- Address climate change to ensure snow cover
- Put a huge light on top of the mountain to attract more Bogong Moths!
One highlight for a North East CMA presenter was hearing how many students had encountered a Mountain Pygmy-possum during their own trips to local mountains, and how much of a connection they felt to the local and endangered species. Their creativity, insights, and eagerness to do something positive was extremely affirming.
Survey responses from the students about the activity included:
- “They were interesting and fun”
- “I liked NECMA because it was fun”
- “The moths tasted good”
- “I liked how the host people were really passionate about their things”
- “They made the way that they taught you interesting”
- “They were interactive”
- “I liked how they’re creative”
- “I liked building the home of the possums”
The team at North East CMA will be looking forward to participating in next year’s event!