Monday 26 August 2013

Millennium Kids - Kaarakin

Big kids and smaller kids alike joined in the fun at our Re-Cyc-Ology workshop run as part of the Millennium Kids program. Millennium Kids is a fantastic not for profit environment organisation, a "group of young people aged between 10 and 25 committed to improving the environment through constructive action". Their motto is "have fun, eat chocolate and care for the environment", and we certainly did all those three when we met at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre on this fine morning.

As our focus was on building nest boxes for Black-Cockatoos what better way to start things off than meeting the birds we were trying to help. Paula the education officer from Kaarakin gave us a great talk about why all three species of Black-Cockatoo in the south west are listed as Threatened and we got to get up close and personal with her friend Chasey the Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo.

Then it was down to the serious business of box building. With lots of sawing, hammering, clipping and screwing the team put together three large (1-metre deep) boxes designed specifically with cockatoos in mind. The great thing about these workshops is that everyone gets to have a go and learn something during the day. This may be how to use different tools, what animals use different boxes, what special things need to be done to the boxes to make them safe and desirable for the target animals, or the wide array of information we get to learn from the people coming to the workshops.

Finally the boxes were ready to hang and we were ready for our chocolaty reward (it is part of the Millennium Kids program after all). Simon hung one box at Kaarakin in a tall Marri, with help from many of the kids to hoist it into position (see below). It is now in a prime location overlooking the centre and ready for some new tenants! We are hoping that the wild birds which get attracted into the area by calls of the captive birds undergoing rehabilitation will use this nest box in the future. The other two boxes are as we speak waiting for suitable places to put them.

A big thank you to Catrina Luz-Aniere from Millennium Kids for organising the day and to Cathy, Liam and Fiona for getting the kids to the workshop and all their hard work on the day. Thanks also to Paula for her wonderful talk and Phil from Kaarakin for letting us use the centre. Finally a big thank you to all the "kids" that came along and had fun, ate chocolate and cared for the environment.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Mardo Reserve - Mundaring Primary

NEST BOXES! This is what every person in this photograph yelled as the shutter clicked to take this photo! About 200 students and teachers assembled on the lawn to celebrate the completion of these 26 nesting boxes, designed for a variety of wildlife (bats, parrots, possums, cockatoos, ducks, owls and Mardo), with students from Mundaring Primary School.

This is part of an extensive project for which the school received state NRM funding to conduct environmental work in the bush reserve adjoining the school grounds. This block has just been renamed 'Mardo Reserve', taking its title from the local native marsupial, which is also called a Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes). This species is relatively widespread but not very common close to residential areas lacking native bushland. However, a Mardo skeleton was found in the reserve, causing excitement that these mammals may still live here. 

The primary school's intention is to improve the habitat quality of Mardo Reserve, enhancing its value for species like the Mardo, and other local natives too. 

Apart from the installation of nest boxes, and replanting of native vegetation (which was conducted earlier this year), the project will involve spotlighting and fauna trapping to investigate which animals live in the reserve, and ongoing checks of the nest boxes. More information can be found on the Mardo Reserve Environment Project website.

Fingers crossed we make some exciting discoveries later this year!