The future is in their hands: how 90 primary school students contributed to conservation and the community
What do you get when you have more than 90 primary school students keen to get their hands dirty in the name of a threatened species? You get an army of future environmental leaders!
As an extension to the ‘Precious Plants for Precious People program’, students from Loxton Primary School rolled up their sleeves recently and ‘dug deep’ in the name of conversation and community spirit. They planted 150 local native trees and shrubs which will eventually provide all important regent parrot habitat and/or food.
Our Education team partnered with the Loxton Waikerie Council to support students to give back to the community by replacing young native plants that had drowned during the 2022-23 flood event.
Not only will this benefit the local bird and animal species, but the community will also enjoy the area in years to come.
The Precious Plants for Precious People program – a humble beginning
The Precious Plants for Precious People program was established in 2013 as a pilot project in the Murraylands, with 60 students receiving a native plant to give their mum on mother’s day.Fast forward to 2023, this year’s program has been the most successful and biggest yet, with more than 1,400 plants distributed to 25 schools across the Murraylands and Riverland region.
How does the Precious Plants for Precious People program benefit student learning and education?
Precious Plants for Precious People educates young people about the ecological and cultural significance of local native species, through the delivery of classroom education sessions as well as the gift of a plant to someone they love.This year the Murraylands program focussed on the threatened silver daisy-bush and the very special kunzea/muntrie plants, with students learning about the importance of native foods and bush tucker.
The Riverland program evolved to focus on our vulnerable regent parrot. Students studied the plight of the regent parrot and what is being done to help. They also learnt about the local native plants that regent parrots rely on, and each student took home a regent parrot food plant to plant in their garden.
So why choose the regent parrot?
The regent parrot is listed as nationally vulnerable, and is one of the species that the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board is working to protect while educating the community on why and how we all can contribute towards their survival.
Populations of regent parrots have declined by 66% in South Australia since 2003. Only an estimated 400 breeding pairs remain. The loss of important feeding and nesting habitat has been a driving force in the decline of regent parrots.
How is the landscape board working with the community to protect the regent parrot, and other threatened species?
The landscape board is working to raise awareness about, and improve the environment for, the regent parrot (as well as other threatened species) including:
- School programs: class sessions, encouraging young people to learn more about local animals and plants – and ways they can take action
- Working with land owners to increase knowledge about threatened species and how they can live in harmony with wildlife
- Decoy crops – new trial plantings of regent parrot food plants in places where regent parrots are present – hopefully this will provide a ready food supply for the parrots so they avoid moving into orchard blocks
- Nest surveys and tracking birds to find nesting locations, bird numbers and where they travel.
This project was a joint effort between the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board and the Loxton Waikerie Council, with funding from the Loxton District Landcare and landscape levies.