Hale School STEM students visit Caversham Wildlife Park


Oscar Comiskey, Joshua Edwards-Smith, Kai Papineau, Konnah Holmes and Beth McGlashan with Cadbury, a Common Brushtail Possum. Picture: David Baylis
Oscar Comiskey, Joshua Edwards-Smith, Kai Papineau, Konnah Holmes and Beth McGlashan with Cadbury, a Common Brushtail Possum. Picture: David Baylis

STUDENTS from Hale School have developed fun activities for animals at Caversham Wildlife Park to keep them engaged during shows.

The Year 9 STEM students created enrichment toys and activities for the animals to provide stimulation, alleviate boredom and break up their daily routine.

The two classes visited the wildlife park last week to try out the enrichment toys they had designed for the quolls, possums, pigs, foxes and dingoes.

Student Johnathan Naughton said his group designed an obstacle course to test the quolls’ skills in a variety of different ways.

“If a quoll finds food lodged in a hole somewhere in the wild they need to use their claws to get it out,” he said.

“In our project there are holes drilled into a rotating stump with food in, the quoll needs to navigate the branches to find these, similar to what they might do in the wild.”

Classmate Ethan Batt and his group devised a special box that catered to pigs’ natural instincts and senses.

“We created a sensory box for the pigs where they snuffle around and find treats,” he said.

“The box is designed for digging or rooting, which is a natural attribute for pigs. The box has materials attached to it designed for the pig’s sensory abilities such as a bell and a brush.”

Hale School head of design and technologies Haig McGlashan said all of the projects by students were successful, with some more than others, but all would help improve the outcomes for the animals.

“Caversham Wildlife Park was really appreciative – the only enrichment they have, they have to make themselves, you can’t just go out and buy these things,” he said.

“A lot of STEM projects are based on theory, but this is a real-world problem and these students had a crack at solving it and did a good job.”

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