Alkimos students dig in to help endangered cockatoos

St James’ Anglican School students nurture plants in the Carnaby’s cockatoo project habitat. Pictures supplied
St James’ Anglican School students nurture plants in the Carnaby’s cockatoo project habitat. Pictures supplied

A SCHOOL project in Alkimos is trying to create more habitat for endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoos.

St James’ Anglican School Year 2 classes, under the guidance of teacher Tim Crane, have started the ‘Carnaby’s Cockatoo Project’ to revegetate vacant land on the west side of their school.

Once completed, the site will have space for children to read, do class work, connect with nature or have quiet time.

For teachers it will be an alternative to the indoor classroom with opportunities to learn across the curriculum.

Principal Adrian Pree with Year 2 students Amelia Mitchell and Chloe Mazorodze watering plants in the Carnaby’s cockatoo project habitat.

“As a new and growing school we are always looking at ways to enhance our learning spaces and create a stimulating education environment for our students,” head of junior school Dan Mornement said.

“This project will allow children to experience nature up close and encourage native fauna into our backyard.”

As well as being a learning place, the area has been revegetated with plant species that are preferred by the Carnaby’s black cockatoos, which frequent the Alkimos area.

Students nurture plants in the Carnaby’s cockatoo project habitat.

Recent studies have shown these birds have been avoiding some areas due to a lack of vegetation and rehabilitation efforts.

In September, students spent a morning planting 400 seedlings on the site to start the project.

They have since had many hours of weeding, watering, infill planting and maintaining the area, which will be their responsibility as the project grows.

The school has already started using the area as an outdoor learning space, with Year 2 students comparing the different root structures of grasses and broad leaf plants during their weeding sessions.

Year 2 student Koda Constantine taking time to nurture plants.

Year 8 students, as part of their science unit, have started taking drone footage of the seedlings to provide monthly photographic growth monitoring.

Junior school students have spent time at recess and lunch building rock sculptures, creek beds and irrigation systems, while others go for walks around the area.

A water tank and buckets are permanently left on the site so any classes can pop down in their own time and work together to keep the seedlings hydrated and strong.

Visit www.environment.gov.au for more information about the birds.

The St James’ Anglican School Carnaby’s cockatoo project site.