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The long-term importance of connecting kids with nature

My daughter was perched behind me on the bean bag, massaging my shoulders. Payment for service, you see. I sat on the very edge of the large bean bag, almost on the floor, with the computer resting on my crossed legs while casting an editing eye over her geography assignment. 

“What does nature deficit disorder mean?” I asked her.

She explained that it was the phenomenon where people know a lot about day-to-day things such as the activities of high-profile celebrities, however know little abut the native plants, animals and waterways of their local area. 

I found that extremely interesting. See, six years ago I shared a post called 105 Ways to Enjoy Nature With Kids, and in the post, I explained my belief that to really care for nature, kids need to engage with nature. It’s about making connections in an increasingly disconnected world. 

It made me think about a recent situation when we were at the Ekka (Brisbane Exhibition). We visited the interactive SEQ Water stall again this year because we loved it the year before. It surprised me how many of the dams in our region we had visited as a family. The arrows on the map below mark them. Learning about water became more significant because we have actually seen and enjoyed these places. The connection is there, it is not just about a map. Making these connections is so important and rewarding. I believe if we want to raise environmentally conscious kids, they need to enjoy and spend time in nature.  

SEQ Water Grid

SEQ Water

I had a fascinating conversation with the SEQ Water staff about water in our region. Water is such a precious resource and something we often take for granted. I remember the millennium drought (approximately 2000 – 2009) very well. It was interesting to hearing about the initiatives and infrastructures SEQ Water have put in place since then to make water usage more sustainable over the long term.  Have a read of The Realities of Rain for some interesting snapshots. I’ll draw out a few and list them below:

Australia has the most dams in the world!

There are more than 800 dams in Australia and 26 in South East Queensland.

We can’t just rely on rain

Taking the millennium drought as an example, it’s clear we can’t just rely on rain to fill our dams to supply us with water for use in our home.  Water security needs to take into account both extreme water conditions, including drought and flooding. This includes investing in a variety of ways to supply and store water.

Desalination

The desalination process separates dissolved salts and other minerals from seawater to produce drinking water. More info here. We tried desalinated water while at the SEQ Water stand.

Purified Recycled Water

Put simply, purified recycled water is wastewater that’s been purified to drinking water standards through multiple levels of treatment and disinfection. Wastewater is created when water is used in the home and from industrial and commercial activities.

Three purified recycled water treatment plants were built during the millennium drought to provide a climate-resilient drinking water source, even in extreme drought. The treatment plants are not currently used, however they are there if needed. More info here

The importance of the water grid

The great thing about having an extensive water grid in the region is the ability to move water from one area to another. For example, during the summer of 2016-17, there was low rainfall in the north-east of the region which left Baroon Pocket Dam, on the Sunshine Coast, at about half the capacity. The water grid was used to supplement Sunshine Coast water supply with treated water from Brisbane.

Saving water in the home

A big part of the picture is making small changes to save water in the home too.

SEQ Water

The BEST Strawberry ice-creams are an annual EKKA tradition

Interactive kinetic sand play and learn pit.

SEQ Water

SEQ Water

Photo booth

seq water stand at the ekka

I took a moment to hunt down some old photos and videos I have taken of our family at various dams in the region. Many dams will have recreation spots around it, and it can be fun to pick one to visit and explore. 

Wivenhoe Dam

I grew up around Wivenhoe Dam, and spend many hours swimming, fishing and exploring the banks. We often go . Wivenhoe dam is the largest in the region, and can store a whopping 1.165 million megalitres of water. I took this video during the flooding end of 2010/early 2011.

Wyaralong Dam

Wyaralong Dam is the newest dam in South East Queensland (completed in 2011). One day, our family decided to look on a map and pick a dam about an hour a day to explore. We decided on Wyaralong Dam, and had a lovely afternoon exploring. 

Wyaralong Dam

Wyaralong Dam

Wyaralong Dam

North Pine Dam (Lake Samsonvale) 

Even closer in Brisbane, there are some gorgeous spots to explore around Lake Samsonvale. One of my favourite spots is Bullocky Rest, and you can read my review here. I used to take my son out there when the other children were at school. This is a little video is from 2009, when we saw some swans. So cute.

Somerset Dam

If you’re looking for one of the most goregsouly rustic cabins you can stay in near Brisbane, Somerset Dam has an amazing place. We went here one weekend, and the cabin is located right at the end of Lake Somerset Holiday Park on a private section. Magic. 

Log Cabin Lake Somerset Holiday Park

Spending time as a family exploring our world is so special. Not only is it fun, it helps us connect the dots with the world we live in, so we can strive to protect it for the generations to come. 

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