Monday, April 09, 2012


from w
What a shame to axe such a good program that's more important than some of the junk that passes for an education these days. Government can spend on silly things, yet not fund the education program at Serendip, a beautiful place for Australian animals and birds.
from today's Addie:
Anger as rug pulled on Serendip ranger
Tom Bennett | April 10th, 2012

LARA residents are up in arms over the axing of the Serendip Sanctuary's education program. Funding for the Education Ranger has been scrapped and with it has gone an environmental study course that catered for about 8000 students a year.

TLC resident's action group spokesman Michael Helman described it as a "bloody tragedy".

"For more than 20 years the Parks Victoria-operated sanctuary ran a schools' program geared to primary and secondary students in the region," Mr Helman, a former Serendip general manager, said. "These people are our top scientists of tomorrow and the course delivered important environmental information."

The program, which began in 1990, failed to resume when the new school term started this year. TLC has been told by Parks Victoria it can no longer afford the $50,000 needed to fund the Education Ranger and that a long-standing grant from the Education Department had been rescinded.

"For the want of a single salary we lose this curriculum standard program," Mr Helman said.

The sanctuary and its associated educational arm had become an integral part of the Lara school community. The three local primary schools would hold regular classes at the wetlands site. Lara Primary had a classroom built at Serendip for its use and that of visiting schools that came from throughout the Geelong region and Melbourne.

Mr Helman said he had written to the head of Parks Victoria expressing his concerns but had little response. "I was Serendip's general manager for two decades, I wrote a long submission and received only a four sentence reply," he said. "After all my service I was treated dismissively."

Mr Helman said the TLC group would petition the Education Minister Martin Dixon directly in the hope he would restore funding. Lara MP Lara John Eren called on Mr Dixon to resume funding immediately.

"It shows yet again the Government has no understanding of the needs of Lara or the surrounding area," he said. "It has failed to grasp the importance of this magnificent asset and the thousands of students that learn from it.

"Serendip is not only an important facility from an educational point of view but also for the tourists it attracts into the local township."



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