‘Drought’ and ‘Flood’ picture story books

Two books by Jackie French highlighting the impact of Drought and Flood on landscapes, flora, fauna and people.  Read the books or watch the online readings to start discussions about the way climate and natural processes sometimes seem irrelevant in everyday life but their impact on us are brought to the fore in times when nature is out of balance. Use the teachers notes for Drought and Flood to explore the two books with students.

  • General, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio, Water cycles,
  • All Regions,

Nature-scrolling activity

A nature scroll is simply a long, narrow piece of paper used to record your responses to nature, in words and pictures.  It can be a portable, bite-sized alternative to nature journalling and a wonderful way for your students to engage with their local environment or make observations whilst at your adopted water testing site.  Make it scientific, make it artistic or both !

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Water Science,
  • All Regions,

2021 Environmental/Cultural Celebration Dates

Schools and the community are invited to recognise and celebrate significant environmental / cultural days each year; some are regional, some national and some international.  Many of these days tie in perfectly with the ethos of the River Detectives program and provide valuable opportunities to broaden and deepen environmental learning, explore curriculum links, make meaningful connections with other organisations and community groups and encourage your students to advocate on a range of environmental and cultural issues.

Check out this calendar (embedded with loads of links) and go wild !!

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

River Detectives Program School Plan

Use this School Plan to start a conversation with colleagues delivering the River Detectives program in your setting.  This is a great template to use at the start of the year with lots of useful questions to promote thinking and space to document the approach you plan to take.

There is also a useful template for sharing your River Detectives data and experience with others at the end of a term/year.


  • Activity Sheet, General, Teacher, Water bugs, Water Science,
  • All Regions,

Campaspe River resource

This guide is a great resource for teachers and older students to understand the Campaspe River; catchment, Aboriginal and European history, flows, health and management.

Produced as part of the Caring For The Campaspe project, this guide will be a useful resource for the many schools now engaged with the project through the River Detectives program along the Campapse River.

  • Catchments, Fact sheet, General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Weaving activity

Use natural items found at your local waterway or bushland, in your school yard or home garden to make a weaving like the one pictured at the link above.  Hang it somewhere special to connect you with nature.

  • Flora (plants), General, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

What’s In Your Habitat ? activity sheet

Use this simple template to challenge students to sit quietly outside and record what they see, hear and smell using words/sketches.

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), General, Lower Primary, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

Nature Journalling activity

Be inspired by these images of nature journals and start recording the things you see, hear, touch and smell at your local waterway or anywhere in nature.  Sit for a while and observe, notice the small things and hone into colours, sounds, textures, shapes and movement.  Sketch, note or photograph your discoveries.  Journal throughout a year and record the seasonal changes you observe.

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), General, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Water Science,
  • All Regions,

Mandala Art

Making a nature mandala is a great activity to tune into the colours, shapes and textures of natural objects at your waterway.  Collect some treasures, plan a design and create a masterpiece.  Ideally, this is done by the waterway where collected materials can stay on site.  If collecting from your waterway and completing the activity back at school, try to return the materials later.

Extension: find objects in nature that are mandalas in themselves.  See this article for examples.

  • Flora (plants), General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Ten ways to improve the natural assets on a farm

Sustainable Farms is delighted to launch a new booklet, Ten ways to improve the natural assets on a farm. The booklet highlights ten discrete projects that landholders can undertake to improve the health of natural assets – such as dams, shelterbelts or riparian areas – on their properties.

The Ten Ways booklet highlights how one small change on a farm could create new habitat for native animals and lead to increased stock productivity. And these changes don’t have to be onerous or expensive – simply fencing a paddock tree or rocky outcrop can help protect these sensitive assets for the future.

This booklet, although written for adults, is a user-friendly guide for teachers and secondary students with information to inspire environmental action.

  • Flora (plants), General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Climate Change activity book and game

ADAPT Loddon Mallee have produced a Kids Climate Change Activity Book, including a climate change snakes and ladders game, for middle to upper primary school students filled with interactive puzzles and a story that follows Griffin the Growling Grass Frog on his mission to discover why the Loddon Mallee landscape is changing and his wetlands are drying up.

Many children are engaged with environmental issues including climate change, but often resources are nationally or globally based leaving people feeling powerless to take action. By keeping the story local and providing activities and choices the children can make at home, they may feel more positive about what they can do to make an impact.

If you are a school in the Loddon Mallee region and would like to register your school for free hard copies visit the ADAPT Loddon Mallee website.

  • Activity Sheet, Game, General, Guide/Activity booklet, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • North Central CMA,

Reimagining Our Water Future activity matrix

As part of the River Detective Program’s participation in the statewide 2020 National Water Week Online Learning Festival we put this activity matrix together to offer engaging, multi-age, cross-curricular activities using a variety of learning styles to explore the theme; ‘Reimagining Our Water Future’.

The matrix is a compilation of challenges from a suite of activity matrices under development by the River Detectives program available for registered RD participants and located in this website under the Dive Deeper tab (login required).

Use the matrix to enjoy National Water Week or anytime !

  • Activity Sheet, All, General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

SBAT with the NCCMA

School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBAT) are available for high school students over the age of 15 years.  Students work for an employer and train towards a recognised qualification while completing their secondary schooling and studying for their VCE or VCAL.

The North Central CMA have hosted three students during 2020 helping them build connection to their culture, environmental knowledge and skills, self confidence and career pathways.

If you’re an older student looking for inspiration this video shows how SBAT and natural resource management organisations can work together for great outcomes.

  • Aboriginal Cultures, General, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Kids Teaching Kids website

The Kids Teaching Kids Program raises awareness and drives action on local and global environmental issues, helping the next generation of leaders who will take collective responsibility for our future.

By giving students the opportunity to present a workshop to others during Kids Teaching Kids Week or at one of the Kids Conferences, students see that they can have a positive impact on the world, starting in their own communities.

You could consider having a group of students present at a KTK workshop or run a KTK- inspired event at your school with cross-age learning or by gathering with other non-River Detective schools.

  • General, Teacher, Website,
  • All Regions,

Junior Rangers website

Parks Victoria’s Junior Rangers website is a great resource with activity sheets and booklets found at the ‘Make and Do’ link.  Topics are wide-ranging but River Detective related content includes;  a river activity Booklet, pest animals, river red gums, pest plants and weeds, platypus and general activities related to nature studies that can be done at school, in backyards or at your water testing site.

  • General, Lower Primary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Website,
  • All Regions,

ABC Education website

Thousands of free curriculum-linked resources for school teachers and students!  Search for the topic you require and there may be activities, lesson plans or videos ready for you to use.

  • All, General, Website,
  • All Regions,

Cool Australia website

Cool Australia has been supporting teachers since 2008, providing them with learning activities and resources that make teaching and understanding real world scenarios as easy as possible.

Units, lessons and activities are Australian curriculum aligned and FREE to educators and students. You can choose to follow full units of study or pick individual lessons to fit in with your curriculum.

There are a multitude of resources from a variety of curriculum areas that provide content aligned with topics covered by the River Detectives program.

  • All, General, Website,
  • All Regions,

River Detectives involved in river health video

This video explains how River Detectives schools can be integrally involved in river health projects when they partner with NCCMA projects and local Landcare groups.  See examples of how Woodend and Goornong primary schools enjoy participating.

  • All, General, Video/Audio,
  • North Central CMA,

River Detectives Program Achievements Report 2017-20

This report is a great summary of the goals/benefits of the River Detectives program, how it operates across the state and the level of participation by schools.  It could be a useful resource to share with your staff or school community to explain and share the program.

  • Fact sheet, General, Teacher,
  • All Regions,

The Loddon River Seasonal Calendar

This beautiful poster can be used for inspiration to make a similar resource for a year in the life of your own waterway.  Use words and pictures to document seasonal changes in weather, fauna, flora, water, land, agriculture and community life.

  • All, General, Poster,
  • All Regions,

How to enter data guide

This will help you to enter data into the website once you have been to site to collect it!

  • General, Guide/Activity booklet, Teacher,
  • All Regions,

Who is your local Landcare group?

Landcare represents thousands of people across Victoria, working together to increase biodiversity and promote the sustainable management of land.

Find out what your local group is doing and how your River Detectives program might be able to get involved.

To find your local group visit the Landcare Gateway and search for the group nearest you by name, postcode or map location.


  • All, General, Group/Organisation, Website,
  • All Regions,

Junior Landcare

Find out:

– where your local Junior Landcare group is

– how to get Junior Landcare going in your school

– about activity ideas (linked to the Australian curriculum)

– what grants are available

– how to build worm farms, frog ponds, enhance habitats and more!

Since COVID-19 a fantastic new section has been launched;  Just For Kids filled with great activities for home and school to learn about caring for land and water.

  • Activity Sheet, All, General, Group/Organisation, Guide/Activity booklet, Website,
  • All Regions,

Is your school a Resource Smart School?

If you are, by being a part of River Detectives you can tick off some extra areas in the Biodiversity module !

  • General, Group/Organisation, Teacher, Website,
  • All Regions,

Brain bending time fillers

Engaging activities to stimulate minds and consolidate learning in those idle moments in your classroom schedule

  • All, Game, General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,