Sunday, September 04, 2011

awesome ornithorhyn-kids - awesome again

It was terrific to be part of the third annual Awesome Ornithorhyn-kids Day, at the Belgrave Lake Park. Organised by the Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group (SDLG) and supported through a community grant from the Shire of Yarra Ranges, families had a great day learning about not only about our local platypus but the importance of habitat to all of our wildlife.

Today I was launching a new 'housing policy' for some of the local wildlife. Here I am with SDLG secretary, Vicki Boyle and some new homes for Sugar Gliders, Kookaburras and Rosellas.

SDLG and Monbulk Landcare Group have working away constructing an assortment of nesting boxes for our wildlife. The nesting boxes will be installed in Shire reserves at Belgrave Lake Park, Birdsland, Butterfield Reserve and Moores Road Reserve.

Part of the day's activities included banner painting led by local artist pictured here, Emma Johnson.

Kids very enthusiastically painted all manner and colour platypus on the banners, which will be used to the promote the event into the future.

SDLG were able to provide a myriad of activities for children including a wildlife display by Animals of Oz. Other activities included platypus art, storytime, singalongs and Rudy the One Man Band.

Many small hands were keen to pat the croc, not to mention the snake, frill-necked lizard and the bat too.

In speaking to onlookers I talked about the new 'housing program' and how important it was to continue to provide opportunities for our native animals to nest as pressure on our natural environment continued to increase. I also talked about the importance of retaining trees with hollows and how the incremental loss of trees with hollows, both legally and illegally, has had a large effect on wildlife over the broader landscape.

Here's Blair installing the first nesting box near Monbulk Creek at Belgrave Lake Park.


Glenn Brooks-McMillan from the Cardina Catchment Landcare Group spoke about the importance of healthy waterways for our local platypus population.

Another treat for people on the day, the local Powerful Owl roosting nearby. This species is listed as threatened and vulnerable in Victoria.

Pictured here, Jackie Glenn, President of SDLG and myself.

The SDLG work tirelessly to improve our environment and raise awareness of environmental issues in the local community.

It was a terrific day out, very well attended, the SDLG intend to make Awesome Ornithorhynkids an annual event. Let's hope next year our nesting boxes have some residents.

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