Bird Biodiversity @ Strathaird Primary School
Our Grade Ones have recently been involved in a bird biodiversity project.
Through this project we conducted an audit of birds, audit of the environment
and how it meets the needs of birds and designed a bird friendly garden.
We have then applied for several grants to improve the environment for birds
and hence increase biodiversity. This should increase the biodiversity of
plants and insects too.
Learning about Birds
Throughout term 1 and 2 Grade ones have studied a unit “What lives in our school- birds”. They conducted an audit of the types of birds in the school grounds and found a variety of birds including magpies, Ravens, Noisy miners, Red Rumped Grass parrots and Crested pigeon. The children learnt about the needs of birds (and living things for survival).
We then walked around the school and identified how well the school me the needs of birds in our environment.
‘We found out that there are not enough things for birds to survive in our school and we want them to be healthy. We looked around the school and we didn’t have much trees, flowers, scrubby bushes and water. We want these for the magpies, crows, major Mitchell cockatoos, plovers, rainbow lorikeet, red rumped grass parrots and noisy miners” (Grace, 7 years).
We also noticed that although common in our area there are no observable Wattle birds, little wattle birds small finches (although these may come to the endangered ecosystem at the front of the school but fly away when we visit. This tells us we need more flowering indigenous plants as we have a lot of grasses and ti trees but not a lot of variety throughout the school.
We also noticed that during the summer there are few water sources throughout the school for birds and insects other than the small frog pond. This is not an issue during the wetter months.
Researching the needs of birds
The students then researched some of the birds we found and some native to our area. We found out what these food eat and what habitats they prefer. The students were then able to discuss what changes need to be made to the school grounds to meet the needs of these birds.
The students were introduced to the City of Casey Indigenous plant guide. We discussed different types of plants e.g. ground cover, tall trees, shrubs, flowers etc. The students identified different plants that would be indigenous to our school.
Designing a garden
The students then designed a new garden for the school based on supporting the needs of birds but also focused on students enjoying the environment. They used the indigenous plant guide to find the names of some plants they could use.
“I put bird homes in 3 trees so they can have their nests. We could put a lake in so the birds can drink out of it. My nana has a bird bath and I thought we could have that so they could have a bath. I thought some bushes for them to get seeds and nectar. The silver bits are the pathways so the kids can play around the area. There is a log for birds to swim and sit on the log”.
Why is this important for our school?
“We need birds to come in our school because they help the plants and we want them to be healthy and have a home and are safe so they can have babies. I like birds because they are really cute and I really want to take care of animals. They make me feel better when I feel sad”.
What are the challenges of this project?
“Our school has maybe not made improvement to the biodiversity because they never thought about it before. Maybe they didn’t have the money to make a new garden. When it is finished I will feel really happy because the birds will be safe and some other birds like eagles might come to live here. We might attract other minibeasts, lizards, possums and fish too.”
The principal and sustainability leader are currently visiting other schools to see how their interactive gardens are put together. We are also visiting the Friends of Cranbourne Botanic Garden who will be assisting us with indigenous plants and seed propagation. We are applying for a number of grants to assist with this project which is part of a greater school Environmental trail that creates a habitat trail around the school and includes a off grid multipurpose building and educative signage about all areas of the Resource Smart Program.