Flinders and Outback National Parks and Wildlife Manager Tony Magor recently became a role model for the Books in Homes program – using it as a unique way to engage the community about the parks and reserves we conserve.
Books in Homes is a charitable foundation that provides books of choice to children living in remote, disadvantaged and low socio-economic circumstances, ensuring crucial early literacy engagement and the development of reading skills needed for lifelong achievement.
In Tony’s role, sharing the work of National Parks and Wildlife Services South Australia (NPWSSA) to the broader community is a critical part of the job.
While it’s generally undertaken in various forms and locations, from guided walks on-park to speaking with students at schools, he has adopted a novel approach to educating the community by signing up to the Books in Homes program.
‘Being a Books in Homes Role Model means you are matched to participating primary schools in your local area, then undertake an activity on how books and reading might have inspired you or how you important reading is to yourself,’ Tony said.
‘Providing a presentation that details the breadth of wonderful work that we do at NPWSSA and the fantastic locations we work in is a great way to engage young students.
‘They learnt that rangers not only work outdoors with plants and animals, but that there are many other aspects to the role such as fire management, visitor management, site protection work, and more.
‘This work is underpinned by good reading skills, which are required for university study, reading numerous plans and reports associated with our parks, training courses, developing text for signs, emails, interpreting tool and equipment instructions, etc.
‘It was also an opportunity to inform them that reading is important in our everyday life, from getting your driver’s licence and reading road signs to understanding medication instructions, to researching your next holiday, for enjoyment and relaxation, and so on.
‘Handing out their book bags at the end and seeing their happy faces as they eagerly dived into their bags to see their books definitely put a smile on my face. Hopefully they were inspired to continue with their reading to make their life easier in future years.’
There are currently 10,000 children in the Books in Homes program. Since 2001, it has distributed more than 2.6 million new books to children through schools and communities around Australia.