Preschool students get a taste of helicopter adventure at forestry excursion

Mitchell Early Learning Centre students got to see firsthand some of the tools keeping the community safe from bushfire yesterday morning.

The excursion to Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Bathurst office offered the students a chance to see a firefighting helicopter in action and talk to grown-up forestry firefighters.

Mitchell Learning Centre’s Blue Gum Room Leader, Anne Corby, said the visit gave students a better understanding on how firefighters are protecting the community.

“As a part of our educational program, we have been looking at various parts of our community, particularly at aspects of safety around our community,” Ms Corby said.

“One of our daily discussions has been about the role of firefighters, helicopters, ambulance and police and how they can help us.”

“The excursion has given us a great opportunity to enrich the children’s learning about fire, road safety and various ways our children can contribute to their world.

This is one of the many ways students are learning about their community, said Mitchell Early Learning Centre Assistant Director Kim Horner

“A big focus for our preschool room this year is getting out into the community, exploring and seeing what there is around town, and planning authentic experiences for the children – even if it is just going to the supermarket to buy fruit they’ve never eaten before – and where they can interact with and experience our wider community.”

The students were impressed with the Forestry Corporation excursion with the helicopter based at Bathurst during the bushfire danger period (October to March) a clear highlight.

“It goes up and the blades go round and round,” Levi added.

Cadence observed, “We covered our eyes because there was so much more dust.”

Bohdi was keen to see more: “I wanted to go in there.”

Frank concluded, “I couldn’t wait to see it drop down water.”

The helicopter is owned by Pay’s Air Service, one of the largest aerial firefighting services in the country and is contracted to respond to fires within or threatening any State forest in the region.

This year’s fire season for Forestry Corporation’s Bathurst office has been relatively quiet, with pilot Lance Allison responding to three fires and actively firefighting at two.

Forestry Corporation works closely with the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service to minimise the effects of bushfires on our community and environment.

The helicopter remains on stand-by with the current dry hot weather continuing and as a back-up for the current hazard reduction burning program being conducted, said Forestry Corporation Stewardship Coordinator Melanie Klootwijk.

“Managing fire is a year-long task. We use the cooler months to undertake hazard reduction burning reducing fuel loads and meaning a less intense burn in the event of a bushfire,” said Ms Klootwijk.

Forestry Corporation has conducted two hazard reduction burns in Sunny Corner State Forest in recent weeks, with more planned over the coming months.

Media contact: Rod Campbell 0428 058 549