Above: Students worked with professional storyteller, Daryll Bellingham to create a story about their part of their catchment.

After the devastating 2011 oods in the Lockyer Valley, many primary school children became distressed when it rained and rates of school absenteeism increased on wet days. The Lockyer Valley Regional Council, through their Land for Wildlife program, saw an opportunity to help educate students about the water cycle and to help them overcome their fear of rain.

Students preparing clay for a clay annimation film
Students preapring clay for clay annimation production
annimation film being showcased
Primary school students from five rural schools in the Lockyer made a clay animation film (top left), starring Splish, Splash and Splent (left), and showcased the film at a Community Day where there were lots of creative events for everyone (above).

During 2012, Lockyer Valley Regional Council initiated and co-ordinated a creative educational project, partnering with the Pilot Creative Recovery Project, which explored the role and importance of water in our lives and in the lives all living beings. This project called Splashing About in Our Catchment was achieved through two steps; a creative school education program, and a Land for Wildlife Community Day.

Splashing About in Our Catchment aimed to:

  • Address anxiety and trauma within young people of our community relating to the extreme weather events experienced in the Lockyer Valley through engaging, fun and creative activities;
  • Explore the importance of healthy water in the environment, how it moves through the local catchments and how water links all of life on Earth; and
  • Facilitate the building of stronger communities and linkages between various community groups and organisations.

Students and teachers from five rural schools were involved in the educational component of this project to look at the role of water in the environment and in the lives of people living in the Lockyer.

Each school worked with a professional storyteller to create a section of a story about three water molecules that travel throughout the Lockyer Valley catchment, passing through each of the five rural schools involved, on a quest of discovery. Throughout the story telling process children engaged in creative thinking and imagination, music and technology. During the water molecules’ journey, they passed through many elements of our catchment such as falling as rain, sailing through the air on gum leaves, passing through the bellies of platypus, travelling on the back of wallabies, being drawn up by carrots and evaporating back into the clouds.

These story sections were then transformed into a clay animation film developed by the same children with the assistance of a clay animation company. Again the children used their creative skills to work with clay technology in the development of their film. Each of the five sections were put together to create the entire catchment story.

This clay animation film was projected onto a pop-up theatre-size screen for the broader community to see at a Land for Wildlife Community Day held at Glen Rock State Forest, also a Land for Wildlife property, in October 2012.

The Community Day brought together a wide section of our community, including school students, teachers, Land for Wildlife members, farmers, artists, professionals and other individual community members. A key component of the Land for Wildlife program in the Lockyer is bringing people together to strengthen a sense of community and to build networks between individuals who live in the Lockyer, while sharing an interest in the natural environment.

This Community Day had water education activities, storytelling, painting, circus activities, music, delicious locally-prepared food and a range of guest speakers. The wonderful water animation lm created by the local school children was a highlight.

The project was inspiring and achieved its aims to educate, explore, encourage and connect. The making of the film can be viewed at www.nsfconsulting.com.au – click on Case Studies and then go to Splashing About in Our Catchment.

Students caught and identified macro-invertebrates in the creek at Glen Rock to gauge the health of the water
Students caught and identified macro-invertebrates in the creek at Glen Rock to gauge the health of the water
Article by Kaori van Baalen, Land for Wildlife Officer, Lockyer Valley Regional Council 

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