Teaching our kids about the amazing world of waterbugs and birds at Walker Swamp

Year 8 students from Good Shepherd College are exploring the world of tiny waterbugs.

Greg and Nicole recently hosted Year 7 and 8 students from Good Shepherd College in Hamilton in a visit to Walkers Swamp for an educational adventure. After an introductory classroom talk with Greg, the students spent a morning with us out at the swamp learning about the local bird life, experimenting with binoculars and starting to learn how to identify different species.

The second activity of the morning focused on the connection between waterbugs, wetland quality and foodwebs and why these tiny bugs play such a significant role in our wetlands.

What a cool find: a fairy shrimp and a shield shrimp

As always, it was great to witness the enthusiasm students develop when they spend a morning in the natural environment among our native wildlife which are often overlooked in a modern student’s day to day life. We found heaps of damselfly larvae, fairy shrimps, shield shrimps, backswimmers and even some of the threatened western swamp crayfish!

This day was part of NGT’s new educational project at Walker Swamp funded by the Australian Government – National Landcare Program, and we plan on this first excursion being just the first of many more opportunities to engage schools and the local community around Walkers Swamp.

As part of the same project, NGT has also now started a free 10 Week Bird Identification Course in Dunkeld. 30 Community members have signed up for it and have enjoyed the first few weeks of brushing up on bird identification skills. Greg Kerr, our Senior Ecologist based in Dunkeld, happily shares his broad knowledge about Australian bird life. His love for birds and his enthusiasm about sharing his knowledge is contagious, so participants are eagerly looking forward to the rest of the course!

Greg Kerr and his students on a waterbird walk on the second night of the 10 week Identification course in Dunkeld.

If you are interested in registering on a waiting list for future bird courses, please send Greg an email.

Nicole Mojonnier