A new book about the rivers and wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin includes information about the Upper Murray and is now on its way to thousands of primary schools across Australia.
Commissioned by the Jane Goodall Institute in London and Sydney, the book was written by the Petaurus Education Group in Albury-Wodonga.
The book, The Rivers and Wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin, is part of the institute’s ‘Roots and Shoots’ program, which is available free to schools. The large-size, hard-cover book comes complete with on-line classroom activities and teacher notes.
The authors, Adrian Wells from Wodonga and Owen Dunlop from Albury, have both worked across the Murray-Darling Basin over many years, running workshops and excursions for school students on the environment, irrigation, farming, cultural heritage and water use.
“The book contains a great deal of information about the Upper Murray such as the Alps, Kosciuszko National Park, Corroboree frogs, forestry, farming, Bogong moths, dams, rivers, native animals, birds and fish,” Mr Wells said
“It highlights the importance of farming, Aboriginal heritage and Landcare.”
John Murphy from the Thowgla Valley – a member of the Petaurus Board – helped the authors find photos and written material and provided advice on local cultural heritage.
He also confirmed the various names of the Murray River used by Aboriginal people between Corryong and Swan Hill.
The book is illustrated with drawings, paintings, photos, poetry and songs provided by community members. Aboriginal elders also supplied art works to illustrate creation stories and cultural knowledge.
It is believed it is one of the first times that such a reference book has been published for students and teachers.
“We wrote a book to inform, inspire, motivate and encourage students to better understand the wonders of the Murray- Darling Basin,” Mr Wells said.
“We also wanted a positive book to challenge students to think about the future management of the basin so that it can achieve a balance of environmental, economic, cultural, environmental and community needs. This required lots of good- news stories, facts and photos that students could relate to.”
The book demonstrates how students, communities, businesses and governments are working together to protect and improve the basin’s environment, cultural resources, productive farms and communities.
People and organisations across the three rivers contributed material to the book from communities, local government, catchment organisations, irrigation companies, environmental groups and water managers. Financial and other support came from NSW Local Land Services, the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group, the Potter Foundation, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.
Most of the books will go to primary schools and the Petaurus Education Group has secured some additional copies for distribution to libraries along the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Darling rivers.
Copies have been donated to the Corryong and Tallangatta libraries.
This article appeared in the Corryong Courier, 14 December 2023.