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The Babbler Project: Moree Secondary College’s major initiative takes to the road this week

By Georgina Poole

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Jasmine Robinson, Dakota Bowyer, teacher Peta Gallagher and Alyssa Duncan are excited to take The Babbler Project on the road this week.

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Mick Louise Ysabel M Hosena, Anngyla Paterson, Dakota Bowyer, teacher Karen Tighe, Teacher Peta Gallagher, Jasmine Robinson, Alyssa Duncan and Shelby Robertson prepare the sets for their performance.

A little-known endangered local bird, the Grey Crowned Babbler, has been the subject of much attention recently thanks to the efforts of students from Moree Secondary College.
Students of the Carol Avenue Campus have spent the past six months working on ‘The Babbler Project’, a local initiative to raise awareness of native birdlife. Funded by National Landcare Program and conducted by six Year 8 and 9 students of Moree Secondary College, the project aims to study and promote the vulnerable Grey Crowned Babbler, which is native to the Moree region.
The project has included a visit from local Member Adam Marshall and Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, the development of a book to aid in the promotion of the species and will culminate next week with a performance by the students to schools across the region.
Teacher Peta Gallagher ran the project and said she was extremely proud of the students’ efforts.
“This project has provided students with a wonderful lesson in teamwork, confidence building and friendship, not to mention promoting the wonderful cause of protecting our endangered wildlife,” Ms Gallagher said.
“Stage One of the project was to find and study the Babblers in their natural habitat. This was supported by Narrabri National Parks Ranger Michael Mullholland and Andy McQuire from the Office of Environment and Heritage.”
Once identified and monitored, the students then developed and published an illustrated book, “The Brave Babbler: An Environmental Adventure”.
Following the misadventures of a local Babbler, the book, beautifully illustrated by Moree Artist Janelle Boyd, aims to help facilitate learning and education in a visual, engaging and child-friendly format.
Ms Gallagher said the book intentionally included local organisations such as WIRES to increase its community appeal and teach children what services are available to aid injured animals.
“It’s a gorgeous little story written entirely by the students and hopefully it will encourage readers to help any injured animal they may come across, as well as raise awareness of The Grey Crowned Babbler.”
The book will be handed out to students across the region next week as the students take their show on the road, having developed the story into a play.
“From the storyline, set design, costumes and eco-showbags for their audience, the students have undertaken it all themselves and we are all very proud of them.”
The Babbler Project will visit Bullarah and Mallawa on Monday, Warialda and Gravesend on Tuesday and Moree East and The Barwon Learning Centre on Wednesday.
On tour with the students will be well known junior environmentalist, Holley Sommerville-Knot, who will also perform, at each school, a presentation entitled “Say no to Palm Oil”.
“It’s wonderful to have Holley join us to help raise the profile of the book. She started her own charity at the age of eight, has been an environmental activist both in Australia and internationally,” Ms Gallagher explained.
“She will no doubt be the source of much inspiration to the students and help encourage the fact that small ideas can be spread globally.”
Ms Gallagher thanked Moree Secondary College Principal, Paula Barton for her unwavering support and believed the school would continue to develop such projects in the future.
“We need to teach the next generation to look after the planet on which we live. It’s so important and, like The Babbler Project, there are so many practical and fun opportunities to promote worthwhile environmental causes.”