With the planet is experiencing an insect decline, Friends of Kororoit Creek (FOKC) in Victoria set about creating five hotel hotels to provide a habitat and encourage population growth. Crafted to provide a haven for insects and smaller animals seeking shelter, the new hotels were created by artist Mike Nicholls who carved them from logs donated by Development Victoria that were removed from a residential development.
“The bug hotels form part of our ‘Bug Rug’ project which aims to encourage biodiversity along the banks of the creek,” shares Friends of Kororoit Creek president, Jessica Gerger.
“We started working at this site seven years ago with one local school, Sunshine Heights Primary. The area was entirely mown grass with a few scattered trees. Since then, we have worked at the site regularly with many local primary and high schools – most of them coming back every year to keep adding to the site,” says Jessica. “The site is now a whopping 13,500 metres squared of a diverse planting of wildflowers, grasses, groundcovers, shrubs and trees. It is one of six of our major sites. The wildlife is abundant!”
In addition to helping create valuable habitat, the ‘Bug Rug’ project has also provided Friends of Kororoit Creek yet another avenue to engage young people in taking care of and connecting with their local patch.
For example, students from Braybrook College have been recruited to help conduct a baseline survey of the hotels’ population.
Explains Jessica: “We never pass an opportunity up to work with as many young people as possible! We have loads of working bees, plantings, art projects etc. We do lots of talks in schools and encourage families to bring their kids down to our sites and we make sure events are family friendly.”
The Bug Rug is a major draw because of all the extra elements it includes, such as a Walan-walan Aboriginal rock carving circle by Fiona Clarke and Ken McKean; a large nature play area with circular path, log bridge and rocks and logs to play on; Wildlife Treasure Hunt Ceramics by Ursula’s Naturel; Four Frog Bogs; planting for Platypus; and a mural that is being created by artist Liz Dalgleish with contributions from Braybrook College
“We love to involve kids – they are the future custodians! We love it when a kid who says they have never touched dirt before or planted a plant is running around joyfully by the end of the day begging to plant more,” concludes Jessica. “We reckon the children enjoy seeing adults having a great time in the dirt too – we role model enthusiastically… crawling around, playing, goofing about and listening to what they have to say.”
“If they create happy memories on the creek with us – we hope that fondness continues into adulthood and they will then be more incline to look after their local environment.”
Do you know a young person or group making a change for the environment? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what actions they’re taking so we can feature them on our website and in the Junior Landcare newsletter!