Tooborac Primary School is one of 219 Victorian schools to receive a grant from the Powerful Youth Projects, in the second year of the program funded by Momentum Energy through its partnership with Junior Landcare.
A number of studies conducted in the 1990s documented the decline of phascogales in Victoria. The cause of the decline in numbers is unclear, however there are a number of contributing factors including clearing of preferred habitat, firewood collection, grazing and mining (all of which are widespread in our local area).
Phascogales primarily require hollows for nesting, and the loss of hollows is dramatically affecting the population of these animals. The reports state that the phascogale population is threatened, rare in Victoria and highly vulnerable.
With this in mind, Tooborac Primary School has been collaborating with the local sustainability and government sectors for the care and longevity of local endangered phascogales in the area.
Students have learned about the dramatic declines in populations of these native fauna, the impact of deforestation and how we can help through the provision of nesting boxes.
In collaboration with the local community sustainability group, this grant enables the students to have a hands-on opportunity to build a number of nesting boxes for the phascogale population in and around the school grounds.
Since learning about the species, students can now identify the animal and have found at least two deceased in the school grounds.
After attending the launch of the nesting box program, the students realised they could have an immediate and positive impact on the phascogale population in the local area.
Students will be guided by the experts in the field and continue to collaborate during the year, learning how to manage the boxes and make field reports.
Tooborac Primary School teacher Cheryl Ward said she was excited for the project to get under way.
‘‘Hands-on learning is a powerful educational tool and we are lucky to have many eager and excited students who can’t wait to begin constructing our own boxes for the local wildlife,’’ she said.
Momentum Energy has funded 219 Powerful Youth Projects across Victoria to the tune of almost $205,000.
Through the projects, schools, childcare centres and youth groups across Victoria will see young people actively caring for and learning about their natural environment. From Lorne to Nungurner, students will be getting their hands dirty building veggie and bush tucker gardens, indigenous and sensory gardens.
Other projects include those to learn about biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, including bee projects, frog bogs and native revegetation.
For more information about Junior Landcare and the Powerful Youth Projects, visit www.juniorlandcare.org.au/powerful-youth-projects