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This project was designed to engage local primary school students and introduce them to the Tootgarook Wetland Catchment.  The aim was to increase the awareness in the local community of just how important the wetland is and for the students to become Ambassadors for this historic area.

Eastbourne, Our Lady of Fatima and Tootgarook schools participated in workshops each week during Term 1 and Term 2 this year. These took place at their schools, Chinaman’s Creek and Village Glen. The students were trained as Field Scientists to help research the Tootgarook Wetlands and to help further understand its importance and share this knowledge. 

ISIC 2016 Eastborne Primary water testing

During the project, they learnt about

  • the size of the catchment and the different land uses eg residential and commercial areas, equestrian centres, recreational reserves, industrial sites, landfill and agriculture
  • sources of litter and pollution and how to test water quality
  • the impact of stormwater and runoff entering the wetlands and finding its way to the bay
  • how diversity in invertebrate species shows that a waterway is healthy
  • the impact of habitat loss and invasive pest species such as chytrid fungus
  • how to recognise different native frogs from the males’ calls
  • the variety of birds that use the wetlands, both resident and migratory species

ISIC 2016 Rubbish at Tootgarook

The final day was a tour around the catchment, visiting all the different land uses mentioned above. The students were able to identify first hand some of the threats the catchment faced and also recorded many of the native birds they observed.

This was a great opportunity to develop a program for the local community and create a sense of pride about their local wetland.

We have to thank several people for their assistance in making this project possible:

Garrique Pergl from Mornington Peninsula Shire

Rob McNaught from Boneo Park

Richard Hawkes from ER Hawkes and Sons

Chris Purnell from Birdlife Australia

Sonja Leon from Village Glen

Brett Pascoe (Eastbourne), Aley Parker (Our Lady Fatima) and Paul King (Tootgarook)

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