Over the past 12 months we have been working with Port Fairy Consolidated School and environmental educator Tracey Gray to develop education resources to share knowledge about our cryptic burrowing crayfish.
Depending on where you are in south west Victoria you’re likely to come across either the hairy one (Engaeus sericatus) or the more coastal dwelling Portland burrowing crayfish (Engaeus strictifrons). But, you’re unlikely to see either (pictured below) with the only obvious indication of their presence being a tell-tale ‘chimney’ made of mud. While the chimneys aren’t all that hard to find, we still don’t know exactly how far each species ranges or, for that matter, whether they even co-exist.
By engaging with our local school students we are hoping to tap into an energetic supply of budding field naturalists and increase our understanding of where these burrows (and hence crayfish) occur. The education resources provide a great way to incorporate some interesting and local ecology into the classroom with activities tailored for different age groups, from preps through to year 9.
This NGT project has been funded through the Glenelg Hopkins CMA Victorian Landcare Grants.
You can check out the information resources and find links to the education kit here.