A HORSHAM environmental education program has been recognised at a national level.
The Nature Connection program focuses on the region’s youth and has won a national Tidy Towns award.
Wimmera Catchment Management Authority community engagement officer Rae Talbot and Horsham Rural City Council’s Landcare facilitator Wendy McInnes delivered the program with the support of Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Horsham schools and the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning.
The program involved hands-on activities at Horsham schools to build awareness and understanding of environmental challenges.
Among these activities is the Nyupun pilot program, which connects Indigenous students to their culture.
Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria chief executive Sabina Wills visited Horsham Primary School on Tuesday as part of the award.
She said it was fantastic to see projects first-hand.
“The students’ native planting is great,” she said.
“Horsham is always enthusiastic with Tidy Towns – we refer to the city as our overachiever.
“There are great programs with schools and community groups.”
Ms Wills said she loved seeing students getting involved with Tidy Towns.
“I’m looking forward to the Tidy Towns award in Horsham in November,” she said.
Horsham Tidy Towns committee chairman Gillian Vanderwaal said she was thrilled the environmental education program was recognised.
“This program provides a wonderful example of teaching about caring for the land and the link between past and future inhabitants of our area,” she said.
“We are very proud of the work a Wendy and Rae do in our community.
“They are very worthy winners of this national award.”
Ms Talbot said the Nyupun project was a key element behind Horsham’s win in the environmental education category.
“Our point of difference was the Nyupun project, which is providing young people with an opportunity to get out into nature, to learn the names of the various species in the Wergaia language and to understand the role they play in caring for the land and country,” she said.
Ms Talbot said being involved the project had been a career highlight for her.
“It’s wonderful to see young people engaging with their culture and understanding the value of caring for the land,” she said.