Platypus In situ Program - Habitat Day » Landcarer

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Danielle Packer
by Published on March 25, 2022

CHEN has had a plan for a while now to bring schools within the Cattai Creek Catchment together to learn more about platypus in the area and how they can help bring awareness to their community.

Taronga Zoo has this awesome program called In situ which is all about knowledge sharing. A group of high school students get taught by an animal expert, all about this particular animal, and do so out in the field where they can do hands-on learning. Then, these now 'Animal Experts' go and teach what they have learned to a younger audience, which is usually a primary school class. After sharing this information with them, they split off into groups, with the high school students as their mentors, and think of a communication piece they can create together that communicates information about their animal's threats, and how to help them. They showcase their communication pieces at an organized EXPO DAY where the community is invited including family members of students.

Our animal for this project is all on Platypus!

The two schools, that are involved in this program are Lorien Novalis and Marian Catholic College in Dural.

We held our Habitat Day on the school grounds of Lorien Novalis inviting both schools, as Dooral Dooral Creek, a platypus key creek, starts on their school grounds.

Our Platypus Expert was Dr. Michelle Ryan, who gave the students a presentation on platypus habitat, basic ecology, and threats. 

After the presentation, they went out to the creek and undertook a Habitat assessment, looking at the riparian zone, plant species, litter, and other water features to determine how suitable this site would be for platypus as well as overall ecological health.

They also collected waterbugs from the creek and took them back to the science lab to identify them under microscopes. They had to fill out a worksheet about what bugs they found which furthered their understanding of the health of the creek and therefore suitability to for platypus habitat. 

It was a great day, filled with lots of excitement and learning. 

Next, these students will be teaching their fellow younger schoolmates, about what they have learned...STAY TUNED!

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