Students branch out to provide habitat for endangered red-tailed phascogale

Campbell WilliamsonNarrogin Observer
Camera IconCredit: The red-tailed phascogale.

Wandering Primary School is helping save the red-tailed phascogale, planting 500 sheoak seedlings and assembling nesting boxes to protect the vulnerable species.

Red-tailed phascogales were once abundant in WA but their population has plummeted to under 10,000, with significant habitat loss restricting them to isolated patches in the Wheatbelt.

To help, 32 eager students from Wandering Primary School began redeveloping the surrounding area under the guidance of gardener Ian Price and principal Jennifer Dunn.

Supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, the 4ha area was not only redeveloped by planting trees, but also by assembling educational signs and building a walkway around the park.

“Red-tailed phascogales move from tree to tree so they like them to be in a short distance and they can hide in the sheoak a lot easier where they’re not so exposed,” Mr Price said.

“The first thing we did was remove the unwanted weeds and map around a bit to be revegetated with lots of plants, and specifically the sheoaks.

“We've been making the kids aware, we've put a lot of signage up and there's a walk trail that goes through the bushland which we created.

“It makes the students a bit more aware of what’s living around here and what we can do to help.” Ms Dunn said the four-year process had taught students lifelong lessons about respecting nature.

“They now have the understanding of what the animals are and the purpose of every animal and every insect,” she said.

“We have quite a few orb spiders around the school, and the children are absolutely fascinated watching how they grow, what they're eating, where they've got their eggs ... they’re very protective of the animals."

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