Geelong and Bellarine Update
Over the past two months, Fishcare Geelong and Bellarine has been making significant strides in the community, leaving an indelible mark on both traditional and inclusive educational landscapes. Led by the passionate Geelong and Bellarine facilitator, Mitchell McMaster, and supported by a dedicated team of volunteers, including Steve Jones, Greg and Nita Mulder, Roger Seddon, David Lamb-Jenkins, and Michael Frith, the organisation has been on a mission to foster a deep appreciation for aquatic ecosystems and fishing among students, community members and individuals with disabilities alike.
The collaboration with local schools, including St Ignatius College from Drysdale, Belmont College, and St Joseph’s College, has been a cornerstone of Fishcare Geelong and Bellarine’s outreach. In-class education sessions, or incursions, have been a key highlight, covering a spectrum of topics ranging from rules and regulations to invasive species, knot tying, fish anatomy, and safe fish handling practices. The interactive nature of these sessions has allowed students to engage hands-on with the material, instilling a sense of responsibility towards the environment.
Beyond the classroom, Fishcare has organised excursions along the Barwon River in Geelong. These excursions provide students with the unique opportunity to apply their newfound knowledge in real-world settings. The team has been actively involved in catching various fish species, including Carp (an invasive species in Australia), Redfin, Estuary perch, Tench, and Tupong. These excursions not only educate but also foster a deeper connection between students and the natural world and the highly therapeutic recreation of fishing.
In addition to these initiatives, Fishcare continues to expand its reach through the FishAbility program. This inclusive initiative is designed to engage individuals with disabilities, providing tailored fishing experiences that ensure everyone, regardless of ability, can actively participate in the joy of fishing. The success of the FishAbility program stands as a testament to the organization’s commitment to breaking down barriers and creating a community that values and cares for aquatic environments.
Looking ahead, we have exciting plans in store. The organization is gearing up for more fish-focused activities, including “Come and Try Fishing” days scheduled for the school holidays in January. These events extend an open invitation to the community, offering individuals of all ages the chance to experience the joy of fishing while learning about responsible and sustainable practices. You will be able to find the available dates and locations on our website or through our Facebook page.
As Fishcare Geelong and Bellarine continues to evolve, the organization’s commitment to inclusivity and environmental stewardship shines through. Through education, hands-on experiences, and a dedication to inclusivity, Fishcare Geelong and Bellarine is shaping a community that embraces and protects our precious aquatic ecosystems for generations to come. The ripple effect of these educational endeavours promises to create a legacy of environmental stewardship among the youth of Geelong and Bellarine, fostering a future where individuals are not only aware of environmental issues but are also inspired to take meaningful action. If you would like to be a part of this and add to the cause, please register your interest as a volunteer through this link https://fishcare.org.au/become-a-volunteer/