Located about 120kms south of Perth, Wandering Primary School has 10 acres of land with over 50 percent being bushland. This bushland space is a natural habitat for local insects and animals like the Monitor Lizard and includes a fenced area to support the breeding area of Black Cockatoos.
The school’s vision was to turn the bushland into a space featuring a nature trail with spots of interest that the students could use daily for learning science and other curriculum. A key goal was to retain native flora and enhance it with local plants.
In 2018, Wandering Primary School was one of 11 schools in Western Australia and Tasmania to receive a South32 Enhancing Habitat Junior Landcare Grant of up to $5,000 each. In February 2020, the program further expanded with 14 schools in Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland receiving grants for a total of more than $60,000 in funding.
This grants program supports schools located in close proximity to South32 operations with projects that help students learn about protecting and restoring our natural environment through hands-on outdoor learning.
For their Nature Trail Project, Wandering School students helped select native plants and trees that support and encourage the population of local birds and animals. The children also assisted the teacher and school gardener with planting, clearing and weeding.
They built nesting boxes for Phascogale, also known as wambengers, a small Australian marsupial. The local Lions Club installed a bridge and built a bench for the children to sit on.
Caleb, a student, said, “The plants are making the place look very good and the nesting boxes that we put up will help lots of animals.”
The planting of native flora has resulted is helping restore habitat and providing refuge for local fauna, including an echidna, a monitor goanna, several Black Cockatoos. The work done is also controlling bridal creeper on the school grounds.
Fifty community members volunteered their time to support the project, including the Lions Club, local Country Women’s Association, the Wandering Shire and the Department of Education.
Jennifer Dunn, the school principal and Nature Trail project manager, said, “The project’s overarching goal was to care for our land, educate the students to care for it and encourage the animals to take up residency. “I think we have achieved this.”