At our school we continually focus on improving the biodiversity of our local area and learning about the biodiversity that exists in our gardens at school, particularly the vegetable gardens. This year, we have been focussing on renewing our Biodiversity Module which has given us a great opportunity to take a closer look at what we are currently doing at our school and were we can improve.
Part of this process involves running audits each year to measure and collect data on trees, shrubs, under storey, mulch, weeds and native wildlife. We also document habitat extras like our worm farms, compost bays, frog bog, bat boxes, nesting boxes and veggie and herb gardens.
This year we have seen a huge improvement in our habitat quality assessment score which is fantastic. We have worked very hard to increase the amount of native plants by creating an Armistice Garden and improving our vegetable gardens with the help of Landcare and Woolworths. These gardens have been used by our classes for cooking and in school events which has been great.
One thing that we noticed during our audits was that we needed to recreate our insect hotels to provide a habitat for the range of ladybirds, spiders and other bugs. This lead to another major project for our Grade 1 and 2 children which was to design their own insect hotel!
The children began by brainstorming any invertebrate friends or foes they knew about already existed. The next stage was to identify whether they thought the insects/animals were a friend or pest and categorise them. The children then went outside to find these bugs in the vegetable garden in their bug catchers with magnifiers. The children then made homes for their friends by making bug hotels from straw placed neatly in old draws with a mixture of leaves. The insect hotels are now part of our school habitat and are a fantastic learning opportunity for all students.
Going forwards, we will maintain our insect hotels and gardens, continue to plant more native and indigenous plants both at school and in the community to promote local biodiversity and hopefully continue to see an increase in local flora and fauna!