City students count on the environment for learning
A group of 24 students from Prince Alfred College (PAC) in Adelaide participated in a Hooded Plover survey and marine debris collection on Yorke Peninsula earlier this month in a partnership that is benefitting both the environment and education.
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke community team leader for the Yorke district Deborah Furbank says the college has been involved in Hooded Plover surveying since 2007, with the program ramped up last year and a marine debris collection initiative also introduced.
"It’s a really good opportunity to introduce the students to the fact that the beach is not just for recreation, but it’s a habitat as well," she says.
"It’s a great introduction to the species, with many of the boys saying they weren’t even aware that Hooded Plovers existed before being part of this program.
"Researching the Hooded Plover gives PAC students an opportunity to understand the scientific process of monitoring but also creates awareness of how human behaviour can impact on a threatened species."
Despite being at the end of the breeding season which runs from August through till the end of March, chicks were spotted by the students whose observations will be recorded on a national Birdlife Australia database.
A survey at West Cape saw two Red Capped Plovers with two juvenile chicks spotted, at Chinaman’s there were two Hooded Plovers with one chick, while at Emu Bay no Plovers were spotted.
"For us this is vital information and it was really interesting to see chicks and that breeding is still occurring this late in the season," Ms Furbank says.
"It’s a timely reminder, especially with the busy Easter weekend approaching, that recreational beach users should stick to the wet sand on the water’s edge and keep dogs on a leash and be diligent in areas where breeding is occurring."