Creating a wildlife habitat: design

Time Allocation: 45 minutes*

Activity Level: Complex


Creating a wildlife habitat helps you create an environment that will ensure the survival of local animal species. The design phase is essential to ensure your wildlife habitat will meet the needs of the native animals that already call your local area home, and encourage more species to live in your new wildlife habitat.

*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.


  • Completed research and vision learning activities
  • Field Guide or App for Australian Fauna (animals) and other research materials, e.g. books, pamphlets, devices with internet access and those resources listed in the Reference List.
  • Online access to the climate zone map from the Bureau of Meteorology
  • Printable Design Activity Sheet
  • Pencils
  • Clipboards (optional)
  • Instructions

    STEP 1

    Mapping your local area

    Take a moment to introduce the topic of habitat design to the children.

    You have learnt about local animals and plants and their shelter needs. It is important that you determine the best location to build your wildlife habitat to increase biodiversity and to create a safe environment for everyone.

    Using the Design Activity Sheet, create a map of built environments in your local area with Google Maps in satellite view. Draw your map using the legend/keys to highlight residential, industrial, natural areas/parklands and your school.

    STEP 2

    Using what you’ve got

    There are many existing features in your local area that can be incorporated into your wildlife habitat design, including established trees, rainwater tanks and ponds. Make sustainable choices by using what you’ve already got.

    Walk around the location where you want to establish your wildlife habitat and use the checklist in the Activity Sheet, along with the built environments map to identify these existing features.

    STEP 3

    Climate matters

    Start a discussion about climate zones using the Bureau of Meteorology climate zone map.

    Explain that climate zones are regions that are defined by their temperature and rainfall.  The climate zone you live in, impacts the type of plants that will grow in your local area.

    Determine your climate zone using the map.

    Consider your climate zone and use your plant list from the vision activity along with associated field guides and nursery lists to select species that will flower at different times of year. This will provide food and pollination sources all year round.

    STEP 4

    Wildlife habitat design

    Reflect on the information you have collected on your map and plant list to help guide your wildlife habitat design. Use The Habitat Network resources to help choose the best position for your plants.

    Draw your wildlife habitat design in the Activity Sheet, including existing features, new plants and any animal habitats like a lizard lounge, nest box or insect hotel.

    Remember to:

    • create a multi-layered habitat
    • provide access to water
    • have access for maintenance
    • plant spiky plants (providing safe hiding places) away from pathways.
    • use plants that will provide year-round food and shelter locations for many different species.

    These ideas will help you design your wildlife habitat.

    Extension Activity

    Hold a wildlife habitat design competition with your Junior Landcare group or school.

    Create a play: Imagine you are one of the animals in your local area discovering this new habitat for the first time. What would you be thinking and doing? Work with your friends to write the story and incorporate other characters.