St James’ Anglican School Year 2 classes, under the expert guidance of teacher Mr Tim Crane, have been taking part in a very special revegetation project.

The ‘Carnaby’s Cockatoo Project’ aims to develop the vacant land on the west side of the school campus. Once completed it will have space for children to read, do classwork, connect with nature or have some quiet time. For teachers it will be a unique and engaging alternative to the indoor classroom with countless opportunities to learn across the curriculum.

Head of Junior School, Mr Dan Mornement, commented “As a new and growing school we are always looking at ways to enhance our learning spaces and create a stimulating education environment for our students. This project will allow children to experience nature up close and encourage native fauna into our backyard.”

As well as being a learning place, the area has been revegetated with plant species that are preferred by the Carnaby’s Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris). This threatened species is iconic in the Alkimos area and well respected by the local residents. Recent studies have shown these birds have been avoiding certain areas due to a lack of vegetation and rehabilitation efforts.

In September, students spent a morning planting 400 seedlings on the site to start the project. They have since had many hours of weeding, watering, infill planting and maintaining the area. With guidance, the ongoing maintenance of this project will be the responsibility of St James’ students.

Even in its early stages the area has already been used as an outdoor learning space. Year 2s have compared the different root structures of grasses and broad leaf plants during their weeding sessions and Year 8 students, as part of their Science unit, have started taking drone footage of the seedings to provide monthly photographic growth monitoring. Junior School students have spent time at recess and lunch building rock sculptures, creek beds and irrigation systems. Others have just been enjoying going for a walk around the area.  A water tank and buckets are permanently left on the site so any classes can pop down in their own time and work together to keep the seedings hydrated and strong.

Monitoring of the beautiful, but fragile, Carnaby’s Cockatoo will be an integral part of the project as it progresses and students hope that their efforts in re-establishing a natural habitat will encourage numbers to flourish across the whole Alkimos area. The local community is very excited about this innovative and hand’s on project that will bring life to the suburb for many years to come.


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