Wildlife project one out of the box
Published on 26 March 2014
An innovative project is under way in Loddon Shire, uniting school students, community volunteers and local conservationists.
The “Nestboxes for Kids Program” is the brainchild of the Loddon Plains Landcare Network, made possible this year by funding of $3,000 through the latest round of Council’s Community Grants Scheme.
Nestboxes for Kids brings Landcare, Men’s Sheds and schools together in a collaborative effort to foster greater understanding about the needs of local fauna.
This latest program follows on from the success of a pilot project conducted in Bridgewater last year, where the local Men’s Shed and primary school co-operated in making and mounting six boxes in the school grounds.
LPLN facilitator Anthony Gallacher, who co-ordinates the project, said the latest bunch of nestboxes have been constructed by members of the Wedderburn Men’s Shed.
“The boxes will then be used with Grades 3-6 students at Wedderburn College as part of their Biological Sciences curriculum,” Mr Gallacher said.
“The children look at the different types of nestboxes made, suited to rosellas, kookaburras, possums, bats and pardalotes.
“Among other things, they learn about the correct positioning of nestboxes, the right-sized trees and the importance of trees in the landscape.
“The boxes are then installed on school grounds or at nearby sites that can offer wildlife monitoring opportunities.
“We’re grateful for the grant from Council, which has enabled the purchase of materials for the project.
“We’ve also just been talking with East Loddon P-12 as well, whose Grade 6 students will be building boxes in their woodwork classes next term.”
Wedderburn College P-6 Neighbourhood Leader Rebecca McLean said the project was a most welcome addition to the school’s teaching resources.
“The project was offered to us by Anthony Gallacher and we thought it was a great idea,” she said.
“We were keen to use the gifted people around us in the community to help make the kids more aware of their local environment and how they could better care for it.
“We will be able to talk about tree planting, how birds and animals benefit from trees and the life cycles they go through.
“Three of our Year 9 students have been helping out at the Men’s Shed to construct the boxes and I believe they will be brought to school next term.
“It’s the first time we’ve done something like this and the kids are quite excited about it.”
Mick Crawford, left, president of Wedderburn Men's Shed, works with secretary/treasurer Geoff Maxwell on more of the nestboxes.