'Our Patch' students learn about native flora and fauna

Year 3 ‘Our Patch’ Environmental Education students are currently getting out and about working scientifically in their local environment to experience and learn about native flora and fauna.

Students initially learnt about the ecosystems that exist in waterways and the role that macro invertebrates play in the food chain. All classes have gone out to their local wetland and assessed foreshore vegetation, sampled for macro invertebrates and been able to make some hypotheses about water quality. Students have been delighted to spot macro invertebrates that are sensitive to pollution like Caddis Fly larvae and a good diversity of water bugs. Children have enjoyed the opportunity, through rain, hail and even sunshine to explore and investigate the variety of creatures that live in our catchments. Many catching gilgies and marron for the first time.

Nearer to Nature rangers from Parks and Wildlife have also visited each class, showing children taxidermies of native animals like bandicoots and phascogales. Students were also able to go for a walk to spot Western Ringtail possum dreys and scat, discovering that threatened species are living in our township and how we can help protect them.

Zac Webb a traditional custodian and ranger is sharing his cultural and environmental knowledge with students through hands on workshops with reeds and sedges. Explaining how Wadandi people have for tens of thousands of year lived sustainably on country. The oral telling of long held stories of place has had students captivated and communicated important values.

Our Patch is generously supported by the Rotary Club of Margaret River, Cowaramup Lions Club, Augusta Margaret River Shire, Cullen Wines, the Commonwealth Bank Centenary Grants and participating schools.

Project Officer: Tracey Muir

Adopt a Spot contributes to protection of the Margaret River foreshore

Complementary to ‘Our Patch’ Nature Conservation has conducted a second year of the successful “Adopt a Spot” Program rehabilitation activities for all Year 4 students across the 8 schools. Funded by the State NRM Program ‘Adopt a Spot’ aims to establish long term links between schools and local bushland, foreshore or coastal areas. Connected with volunteer friends groups schools will care long term for their ‘adopted spot’ contributing to restoration and environmental management of these sites.

All schools have adopted a spot within their local environment and contributed to its rehabilitation. Two excursions to each site will be conducted with each school, firstly in May/June 2018 to undertake rehabilitation work such as planting and brushing and secondly in November 2018 to assess the success of their work and undertake follow weeding and clean up activities. Before and after surveys are undertaken with the students to assess their knowledge of the site, its issues and environmental management requirements.

The Margaret River Primary School’s 2018 ‘Adopt a Spot’ revegetation project at Ellen Place foreshore reserve has been a fantastic collaboration of school children, community volunteers and local landholders contributing to the protection of the Margaret River foreshore. The site, infested with arum lilies for many years, was ready to be restored with native plants following extensive arum lily control by Nature Conservation over the past few years.

Four classes of Year 4 students from the Margaret River Primary School learnt about the reserve, the values of the area and native plants that could support life and create habitat. A contractor prepared the site and on 6 June the planting began. 103 students came with their teachers over the course of the day assisted by 18 parents. Three landholders who live near the reserve all came to help plant. Five community volunteers planted and stayed until dark to stake and bag every single plant, watering them all in. Nearly 1200 plants were carefully planted at the site.

Ann Ward, a landowner adjacent to the site, joined students on the planting day. Ann was so inspired, she and other volunteers planted a further 1000 seedlings on her property adjacent to the site. An area that was once overrun with arum lily is now a sea of native seedlings. Ann noted that ‘it was an extraordinary team effort and an amazing transformation’. Ann has since carefully tended her plants and helped to care for the plants the students put in. The plants with rain, careful weeding and sunshine are doing well and already helping to create vital habitat.

Project Officer: Tracey Muir