Outdoor Education on the Lower Goulburn River

Banner image: Kira Woods (Streamology) talking to students on the Goulburn River about water for the environment.

On Tuesday 29th August, 2023, students from the Greater Shepparton Secondary College joined scientists from the Lower Goulburn Flow-MER project on the banks of the Goulburn River to get their hands dirty and learn more about environmental flows. Students across Years 10 and 11 currently studying outdoor education and environmental science had the opportunity to participate in two workshops over the course of the day and test their knowledge of environmental flows, macroinvertebrates and geomorphology, while also being given the chance to learn some of the techniques used to monitor the river.

A macroinvertebrates workshop was facilitated by Dr Claudette Kellar and Gina Mondschein from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where students learnt about macroinvertebrate monitoring, the different habitat types used by different macroinvertebrates, and how these are influenced by environmental flows. Students then headed down to the river to try their hand at macroinvertebrate monitoring and test the hypothesis that more types of waterbugs are found in complex habitat compared to bare edges.

Dr Geoff Vietz (Streamology) explaining flow highs to students. Photo: Streamology
Dr Geoff Vietz (Streamology) explaining flow highs to students. Photo: Streamology

Dr Geoff Vietz, Kira Woods and Alejandro Mardones facilitated a geomorphology workshop which asked students to consider how different flows within the river affect geomorphic features such as benches, bars and slack waters, and to consider how sediment type varies across these features. Students collected sediment samples from different features and used sediment sieves to characterise their sediment samples. Students also expressed their creative side by drawing a field sketch of the site at the Goulburn River, before presenting their findings back to the group.

Kira teaching students about sediment classification (left) and in the thick of it (right) a chance to survey the geomorphic features of the river. Photo: Streamology

The hands-on approach to the workshops provided an opportunity for students to engage with the workshop content in a fun and practical way. It also helped students to connect with their local river and understand the importance of environmental flows for a healthy river.

Students undertaking their own monitoring of geomorphology on the banks of the Lower Goulburn River. Photo: Streamology

The day was a collaborative effort between scientists at Streamology and RMIT, teachers and students at Greater Shepparton Secondary College, the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and RiverConnect.

Eight years of monitoring environmental flows in the Lower Goulburn River

Water for the environment is a critical component of caring for our rivers, and the monitoring program we have in place continually helps us manage all water in the system. We invite you to hear from community members, scientists and managers about what we’ve learned from the past eight years of monitoring environmental flows in the Lower Goulburn River.

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