Celebrating World Environment Day in Natures Classroom

Tambelin Independent School moved the classroom outdoors last week in celebration of World Environment Day and as part of the second stage of their Glideways studies. The students are learning about Australian Gliders, not the fixed-winged kind, but rather the fur-covered native animal-kind, a Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala (K2W) Link flagship species representing the broader needs of our environment.

The Glideways teaching program, developed by local teachers and ecologists,  brings the habitat connectivity message to a younger audience of future landowners and habitat managers. The program includes lesson guides, factsheets and activities designed to inspire students and encourage learning about the importance of wildlife corridors to gliders and other native animals.  Classroom lessons are complemented by opportunities to participate in other parts of the K2W Glideways project, such as the nest box program and visits to nature reserves and parks.

“It was a fun 2 day nest box excursion for the Tambelin students to Wombeyan Caves,” says Mary Bonet, Goulburn Landcare coordinator and K2W Glideways facilitator.

“Ecologists, Dr Anne Kerle and Dr Mike Flemming, took the students spotlighting, helped with nest box installation and taught the kids how to look for signs of wildlife.

“Spotlighting, they saw a Ringtail Possum, Greater Glider, Brushtail Possum and heard calls from Yellow-bellied gliders all in the location where the nest boxes were being placed, so we know we have a few potential new tenants,” she says.

A range of boxes were installed by the students at the caves for gliders, possums, bats and owls each having a different entrance. The boxes were made from different materials from plywood to recycled plastics and temperature monitors were installed to see which boxes provide the best conditions for their inhabitants.

“We will monitor the uptake of the boxes to see who moves in, to which boxes and where,” Mary says.”

Showing their scientific skills, students took down all the details of the work including type of tree, type of box and dimensions, height, diameter of entrance hole, aspect and GPS location. The information will be recorded in the Hollows as Homes database as part of long term monitoring with school groups at Wombeyan. Rewarded for their efforts, the students were treated to a tour of the caves with park ranger Lawrie Dunn.

The Glideways Program, funded by the NSW Environmental Trust BushConnect Program, raises awareness about forest health and connectivity and the dependence of gliders and other native animals on moving freely across the landscape for food, shelter and mates.  For more information contact Mary Bonet at mary@glideways.org.au or (phone number). Download the Glideways teaching package from glideways.org.au