A new way to learn about the Swan River

9 February 2018

Participants in a recent Bronze Medallion course on the Swan River had an opportunity to not only learn vital swimming and lifesaving skills, but also learnt how their actions can have a detrimental effect on the ecology of the Swan River.

Hannah from DPaW teaching Scouts by the Swan RiverHannah from the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), ran the ‘Swan River Catchment Model’ during the Bronze program at Pelican Point Sea Scouts. The model of the Swan River (including actual water) was shown to participants to represent the catchment of the Swan and Canning Rivers. Over the course of the activity session, each of the Scouts involved was asked to add a pollutant to the river model, such as oil, paint, fishing line, detergent and rubbish. They were then able to watch how the pollutants moved through the waterway and could pollute the entire river system.

The use of the Swan River Catchment Model at this Bronze Medallion session taught the children how to respect the Swan River, as part of our Respect the River program, and become aware of how water enters it, how it can be polluted and what it needs to stay healthy and safe to swim in. The activity was a real eye-opener for Scouts taking part, who were amazed at how quickly these pollutants spread. They were then asked to make a pledge to look after the river, stating simple things such as “I’ll pick up any rubbish I see” or “I’ll make sure my parents wash their car on the lawn.”Two Scouts putting pollutants in the Swan River Catchment model

Respect the River is a program, funded by the Federal Government, which aims to promote safe aquatic recreation in inland waterways, ensuring all Australians know how to safely enjoy rivers, lakes and dams and how to help someone out if needed.

Australian rivers have claimed more than 1000 lives due to drowning in the past 15 years, with 89 of these lives lost in Western Australia. Royal Life Saving WA is determined to see all West Australians understand how to use our beautiful inland waterways safely, and this includes looking after the Swan and Canning River catchment, which is subject to a variety of pollutants year-round.

Find out more about our Respect the River program at the link below.

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