Gould League has welcomed the decision by Victoria’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, the Hon Ryan Smith, that the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) instigate a new arrangement for the continued delivery of forest education services in the Toolangi area.
“Commencing in the final school term in 2012, the Gould League will be offering forest education services to Victorian schools” Mr Smith has announced.
This announcement signifies an ideal outcome, following on from the DSE’s decision earlier this year to close the Toolangi Forest Discovery Centre (TFDC) and its Education Programs from the end of second term 2012, citing building compliance and safety issues.
“This new arrangement ensures that schools from Greater Melbourne and beyond can continue to engage with the valuable programs developed by TFDC,” says Amy Stace-Smith, Operations Manager for Gould League.
“During this time of transition, we will be supporting schools with our usual high quality service. I have the utmost confidence in our ability to maintain the quality Forest Education programs within Toolangi that schools have come to know and value so highly.”
Gould League CEO David Walker sees the new venture as a means of ensuring valuable education programs continue to be available to Victorian school children, and as a logical extension of Gould League’s existing activities.
“Upon hearing of the planned closure, Gould League recognised the critical need for the Toolangi programs, and straightaway proposed that we could step in and take over their delivery. The programs complement our existing environmental programs in schools and at our excursion centres at Moorabbin and Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary” Mr Walker says.
“Since that time the Gould League and DSE have been finalising arrangements regarding access to education materials and the education areas of Toolangi State Forest. Now the programs can recommence.”
Stephen Latham, Education Officer for the Geography Teacher’s Association of Victoria is equally enthusiastic,
“Geography teachers were extremely concerned when the DSE ceased operating the Toolangi Forest Education Centre and associated education program. The Gould League’s rescue operation of the education service is great news for the 8000 students who participate in the program and the jobs provided to the local community.”
Gould League is Australia’s oldest environmental education organisation, having been founded in 1909 with Australia’s Prime Minister at the time, Sir Alfred Deakin as its first President. The organisation has a highly regarded and engaging suite of excursion and incursion programs on biodiversity, waste minimisation and water conservation, and is renownedfor the quality of its delivery of environmental education.
It is listed on the Federal Government’s Register of Environment Organisations and is a Licensed Tour Operator with Parks Victoria within Braeside Park, Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary and now Toolangi State Forest.