Understanding and caring for our natural world
This year (2021) we have been fortunate enough to be granted one of the Woolworths Junior Landcare grants to improve on Cooloon's physical environment. These grants were "Open to primary schools and early learning centres across Australia, Woolworths Junior Landcare Grants aim to inspire kids with hands-on projects focusing on sustainable food production, improving waste management practices and enhancing native habitats".
The aim of our specific project was -
To enhance the existing environment and give children the opportunities to learn about the significance of the natural habitat for the long term future of frogs, birds, small animals and bees.
The first project on the receipt of the grant, was the frog pond! We had discussed the habitats that frogs prefer with our children, and it was decided that we already had a spot that was nearly perfect. With some help from the children, we dug a hole and removed any rocks before putting in our frog pond and placing plants both around and inside the pond.
The frog pond is now looking established and amazing and overgrown with algae growth inside the pond, for our tadpoles to eat... when they finally decide to appear.
It has been a few months since we set up the frog pond and we finally have what seems to be a hundred little tadpoles! We are very excited to watch them grow and although they haven't grown any legs yet they seem to be doubling in size every time we see them! We have a few local Green Tree Frogs who appear sometimes so the hopes are that they are the parents!
We have been very lucky to have a lot of skilled and community minded individuals in our Cooloon community who we can call on for their knowledge and passion with regards to the frog pond, new garden beds and our native bees. One of our families has an amazingly talented grandmother Bella, who is a horticulturalist. She offered her help in our gardens which we accepted quickly. Bella has worked closely with our children to give our gardens an amazing makeover and recommend plants that will grow well in the same beds as well as what needs to be planted in the ground instead to encourage growth.
A parent, Courtney Castles aka 'The Stingless Bee Lady' has shared her love for native bees with us, as well as a bee hive. We love taking the top off the hive to see how the bees build the hive and it has been really helpful knowing what types of flowers they like to collect pollen from such as these Angelonia's you can see on the right ---------->
As part of the grant we also had funds for 4 new bird boxes! Our lovely natural environment encourages a lot of native birds to flourish so we decided that 2 small parrot boxes, an owl box and a microbat box (yes that's not a bird) would help more birds to hopefully move in and start a family.
We would also be amiss if we didn't mention Uncle Boomerang who comes regularly to share his knowledge on Australia and its History with us. He has been invaluable in sharing what he knows about the local flora and fauna and the best ways to attract them, as well as the amazing gifts of small bushes and trees for our garden.
We are very grateful to Woolworths Junior Landcare Grant for the opportunity to build upon our existing natural environment along with our amazing local community for its help in constructing it as well as giving us some great goals for the future.
The Grant has given us so many opportunities to extend on our knowledge of the local environment given to us from the community members who genuinely love what they are teaching us. The children have embedded themselves into the projects, they race out every morning to see if their are frogs in the pond, birds in the boxes and if they bees are buzzing around the garden. The educators have embraced the project with new passion. Thank you everyone for your contributions.