EVERYONE was shocked by the dreadful images that followed from the Pacific Adventurer oil spill in South East Queensland.
Pristine beaches covered in oil; wildlife dead and dying.
And the news that it will take months, even years for the area to fully recover.
It's a timely reminder that coastal ecosystems are finely balanced and easily damaged by human activity.
Not just by big oil spills, but also by the little things we do.
Like where we choose to wash the car, the chemicals we use in the yard, or the way that smokers discard their cigarette butts.
The students at St Joseph's Primary School in Maclean can tell you all about it.
They've just completed a series of lessons on water conservation as part of becoming a Waterwise School.
They know about nutrients, plastic bags and the perils of dog poo.
How things like these can be disasters in themselves, when they end up in the river or the ocean.
An appropriate focus for Waterwise at St Joseph's was the mighty Clarence River, which flows right through their town.
Stage 2 and 3 students took a “Virtual Water Tour” of the Clarence Catchment via a Powerpoint presentation.
Among other things the students were able to trace their tap water back to its source in the Nymboida River and “see” the new Shannon Creek Dam.
Meanwhile the younger classes looked at themes like water and health, and how the water cycle works, along with practical ways to save water at home.
St Joseph's itself has taken the lead, using recycled water on their fields and in their toilet systems.
“The Waterwise Schools Program has enhanced this model with explicit teaching of Waterwise principles, developing across all classes the attitude of reduce, reuse and recycle,” said the Principal Bernadette Birchall.
“Many thanks to teacher Bruce Winter and Clarence Valley Council for their support in this initiative.”
Set for accreditation on Friday April 3, St Joseph's will join several other local schools which have an ongoing commitment to water conservation in their teaching and in practice.
The Waterwise Schools Program is available free of charge to both government and non-government schools throughout the Clarence Valley Shire.
The program is sponsored by North Coast Water and delivered through Cascade Environmental Education Centre.
Interested in your school being accredited as Waterwise? Contact the Waterwise Educator, Bruce Winter firstname.lastname@example.org or Matt Foley at North Coast Water 6641 7356.