Creating a wildlife habitat: monitoring and care

Time Allocation: 30 - 45 minutes*

Activity Level: Moderate


What happens now that you have finished creating a wildlife habitat? The monitoring and care phase is important to ensure all your hard work isn’t washed away, and that your plants are healthy and growing well. It is also a great way to find out if your wildlife habitat is a success, and providing a home for local wildlife.

*Time allocation will be dependent on site selection and travel time. Additional time may be spent in consultation with your local Landcare group, council, or Indigenous plant nursery.


  • First aid kit, sunscreen, protective footwear, allergy plans
  • Sewing tape measure
  • 1.25l clear plastic bottle
  • Small rocks (1-3cm diameter), enough to fill the bottom of the bottle
  • Larger rocks (5-10cm diameter), for stabilizing
  • Black marker
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Printable activity sheet
  • Pencils
  • Clipboards (optional)
  • Camera/Device for taking photos (optional)
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    Why should we monitor and care?

    Now you have finished creating a wildlife habitat, what’s next?

    Discuss as a class why monitoring and caring for your wildlife habitat is an important phase of your project. Including the following:

    • why is water important for plant growth?
    • are all insects in our garden pests?
    • how can we tell if our garden is healthy?
    Step 2

    Making a rain gauge

    Rain helps sustain life and provides water for plants to help them grow. You can determine if you need to add more water to your wildlife habitat by monitoring the rainfall. A simple way to do this is by making a rain gauge.

    1. Using scissors, carefully cut the top section off a 1.25L clear bottle.
    2. Fill the bottom of the bottle with small rocks for weight (2cm deep).
    3. From the top of the rock layer, mark out 1cm intervals on the side of the bottle with a ruler and permanent black marker.
    4. Fill the bottle with water up to the top of the rock layer.
    5. Make a funnel by inverting the top of the bottle you cut off in step 1
    6. Place the rain gauge in your fauna habitat where it will be exposed to rainfall, making sure to secure around it with rocks so it doesn’t fall over.

    When it rains, observe and record the rainfall amounts. If there has been a lot of rain, there is no need to water the garden.

    Step 3

    Monitoring growth, looking for pests

    Another important part of monitoring is recording the growth of your plants.

    Use the growth chart in the activity sheet to monitor the garden. Record the height and width of your plants.

    Measure from the top of the soil straight up to the highest tip of the plant to determine the height.

    A sewing tape measure can be used to measure the circumference of the plants to see if they are getting wider/fuller.

    Other than water, another factor affecting growth are pests. There are many beneficial insects living in your garden that help your plants stay healthy. There are also pests that cause damage.

    Use the link to find the best natural pesticides for the pests that cause damage. Natural pesticides will help keep your plants healthy.

    Step 4

    Processing and applying learning

    You have finally created a wildlife habitat, but how do you know if animals are using your garden?

    When you are monitoring and caring for your garden take a few minutes to look around and make observations. Look on the ground, in the trees and shrubs and up in the air.

    Can you see any scats (animal poo), tracks, or traces? Can you hear any new animal calls or noises?  

    Write these down with the other observations in your Planting Activity Sheets.

    To finish this stage of the project, have a discussion in your class about the long term approach for your new habitat. How will you look after it, how will you monitor what visits and lives in the habitat, how can you encourage even more wildlife to your garden.

    Keep the Junior Landcare group, garden club, school council and P&C involved in the long term care of your wildlife habitat garden.

    Extension Activity

    Celebrate the establishment of your garden and ask the local Traditional owners to come and provide a talk or Welcome to Country.

    Get your Junior Landcare group to develop monitoring programs for the animals that now live in your native wildlife garden.