LEETON artists Jason Richardson and Jo Roberts share many creative interests, with their latest project a testament to that idea.
Mr Richardson last year enjoyed success with a Fivebough Wetlands-themed project which helped to raise awareness of this Ramsar-listed site located right here in Leeton.
Soon after this project was finished, Mr Richardson and fellow collaborator Ms Roberts sought support from the Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists (MFN) to develop a series of activity sheets for children in the Western Riverina region that focuses on the importance of the environment.
"The idea developed from our conversations and observations about the links between birds and their habitat," Mr Richardson said.
"Specifically, the shape of a bird's beak and their diet.
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"I know my kids have enjoyed activity sheets and I think there's an opportunity to raise awareness about biodiversity and native species.
"My hope is they'll be a useful resource for schools and we also gained support from Murrumbidgee Landcare, local museums and libraries, but they'll be available for anyone to download and print to use."
With the MFN on board, the pair approached Leeton Shire Council to auspice a grant through the Community Arts Support Program, administered by Create NSW and Western Riverina Arts on behalf of the NSW government.
That grant application was successful and they have been finalising the bird and plant species that will feature in the five activity sheets.
"I spoke at the Field Nats' meeting in March and it was useful to get feedback from their knowledgeable members, particularly Max O'Sullivan and Nella Smith," Mr Richardson said.
"The final list of species was published in their recent newsletter with an invitation for photographers to contribute images, which will assist in illustrating and might also go toward an exhibition next year."
The project is continuing to grow as 2021 continues.
My hope is they'll be a useful resource for schools and we also gained support from Murrumbidgee Landcare, local museums and libraries, but they'll be available for anyone to download and print to use.Leeton's Jason Richardson
Recently, the regional arts board from the central west, Orana Arts, offered a round of grants to regional artists and Ms Roberts and Mr Richardson were successful in accessing further funding for the project.
This will cover costs in developing a colour flier that will show photography of the bird species, as well as assisting in providing further details and promoting the activity sheets.
"We anticipate the flier design will be finished in May and be ready to distribute when the activity sheets are published online in June," Mr Richardson said.
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