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Small town making a big effort

About 270km north of Perth, in the Mid-West region of Western Australia, is a small town that punches well above its weight when it comes to community engagement and looking out for the environment. Coorow has a population that sits at around 180 residents (161 according to the 2011 Census) and it seems like every one of them is getting involved with the local effort to utilise the drumMUSTER program and bring some money to the town’s coffers.

For a town of such a small population, there are going to be local heroes that stand out when it comes to making sure the drumMUSTER program runs effectively. There’s Kevin Bean, the Shire Council Works Manager who volunteers with drumMUSTER to raise funds the local school and P&C by conducting collections after hours.  Kelvin’s wife Shannyn also assists as a volunteer for the collections, that is, when she’s not saving native animals.

At the local primary school Principal Jancy Whyte and her colleagues Fiona Pattison and Cheryl Bothe, along with the help of their 36 charges, raise awareness for drumMUSTER and raise funds for the school via the P&C.

“We were keen to be involved in DrumMUSTER because we have a strong focus on environmental awareness and we try to ensure that our students have the opportunities for active citizenship. We also have a strong commitment to community partnership, and through DrumMUSTER we were able to work with community members and local businesses. We found that it was easy to integrate DrumMUSTER into our English and ICT programs as our students practised their computer skills and their persuasive language making posters to advertise the drumMUSTER program. We found the community response to the initiative very exciting and we plan to continue our involvement in the future.” School Principal Jancy Whyte said.

Elders Coorow manager Guy Sims, along with his counterpart from Landmark, Phillip Smyth are both proud to support the program. “As a farm supplies retailer we acknowledge that we need to support initiatives that ensure that used containers are recycled. All of us here at Elders Coorow as part of the Coorow community are very happy and excited to support drumMUSTER as it benefits the local school as well as the environment” Guy said.

This engagement by the community with the drumMUSTER program is making a big difference to the amount of agvet chemical containers that are being recycled in the area.

Dominique Doyle is the General Manager of Agsafe, the organisation that runs the drumMUSTER program. “I am so delighted that the drumMUSTER program has enabled this community to draw together to not only raise funds for the local P&C, but also raise awareness with local farming families with regards to environmental sustainability.  This community engagement epitomises how drumMUSTER and communities come together to have a positive environmental impact, particularly with local champions on the ground.”

Graeme Passmore is the local drumMUSTER representative and has been impressed with the way this small town punches well above its weight when it comes to looking after the community, the environment and each other.

“With drum collection numbers dwindling I suggested they needed to engage with the local farming community. I’m excited for two reasons. Firstly that Kelvin and Shannyn Bean sought to engage with the farming community, and in that found Cheryl Bother, a farmer and a teacher. Secondly, that once the connection was made the community engagement took on a life of its own, spreading to the Principal, art teacher, farmers and resellers” Graeme said.

In 2017 less than fifty drums were collected at the local drumMUSTER compound. The following year there were 1625 drums collected, and this year there have already been 400 drums dropped off to the local collection point – on target to hit 3,000 drums for the calendar year.

Next on the list, a $300,000 facelift for the local community-owned pub – with funds raised by the local community, of course.

For more information about drumMUSTER, visit www.drummuster.org.au, or call 1800 008 707

Photo: 
Left to right back row: Chris Bothe, Fiona Pattison, Jancy Whyte, Leanne Parda, Dominique Doyle, Graeme Passmore,
Left to right front row: Sharryn Bean, Kelvin Bean, Cheryl Bothe