FC: LIFE FOR ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABLE SEPTEMBER AT BOSHACK 2012
1: A Millennium Kids Inc Production 2012 www.millenniumkids.com.au
2: In September 2012 children from West Northam Primary School visited Boshack Outback in Bolgart, Western Australia. This book tells the story of that day. The program was funded by Wheatbelt NRM | http://www.wheatbeltnrm.org.au
3: To play, to go outside into the natural world, to inquire, should be the cornerstone of all science programs. Catrina-Luz Aniere CEO, Millennium Kids Inc
4: We arrived at Boshack Outback at 9.30am. We met Cat, Simon and Wayne from Millennium Kids. We also met Deryck and Rory from Boshack Outback. The day was spent learning about how the environment had changed through different land uses. Rory took us on a ride to feed the cows and horses. We fed them hay. We held out the hay for the animals to feed on. The animals came over to us and they nibbled on the hay. Part of Boshack Outback is used for farm animals and crops.
6: We went back to the big shed and had morning tea. We ate fresh damper with cream, jam and biscuits and had billy tea. We got to swing the billy tea in the billy. We played with the farm dog.
8: We walked through the bush to the paperbarks. We saw a bobtail or blue tongued lizard curled up in the sun in the grass on the way. It was very young and it was not frightened of us. The Noongar word for bobtail is yoorn. We walked to a very special place. Everyone went quiet. It was a meeting place surrounded by paperbark trees. It had rocks like a fire in the middle. Rory called it the Dreamtime place. We heard that Dreamtime is Koondorn. We were introduced to Trevor. We call him Pop. He did a Welcome to Country. Pop is a Noongar man.
11: Trevor told us about growing up in the area many years ago. Lots of times his family had to run away from white people because they wanted to take the kids away. Trevor thought it was a game. He said these things happened in the old days. He said the paperbark was a great tree that was used a lot in the old days. He said you could make a bed out of it or cover your mia mia with the bark. He said you could use it as a plate. Trevor also said he painted on the bark. He said if you put a wire into the trunk of the tree you could get water.The Noongar word for paperbark is bibool boorn.
12: Trevor talked about hunting and he played the didgeridoo. We listened to the sounds of him playing. The didgeridoo sounded like a dingo, a kookaburra and a man running. It sounded like a kookaburra laughing, too. Trevor used the sounds of the didgeridoo to tell the story of a man hunting. The man in the story did not kill the kangaroo. It got away. We all laughed because if we were really in the bush we would have gone hungry. Trevor told us he used mallee to make the didgeridoo.
14: Where can we find Mallee in the Wheatbelt? Mallee are a type of eucalypt, or gum tree, with lots of stems coming from the one root system. This makes them different to other trees, where there is one main trunk. There are many different types of mallee, some are more wide spread and common than others. Like trees, most of the mallees have been cleared for farmland and now we find them in the small remnants on farms like Boshack Outback. Scientist - Wayne O'Sullivan "We found some mallee when we went for our walk with Cat and Wayne."
15: "At Boshack we threw a boomerang and we got to go to the special place and we would like to do all that again." Charisma & Kiziah
19: " We sat in the paperbark area and drew the trees. We used special pencils. When you wet the drawings it looked like paint." Heidi " The paperbark was soft like a blanket." Totti
20: We walked through the paperbarks. The water tasted fresh and sweet. It was a fresh water spring. Deekan saw a yabbie. He stuck his hand into the mud but the yabbie was too quick for him. We heard lots of frogs. Wayne called them Litoria Moorei or motorbike frogs, Trevor called them koya. We even got stalked by a goat.
23: "We went down to a little dam. Rory pulled up the trap and there was a marron inside the trap." Shay
25: We had lunch by the lake. We talked about our adventure. We had delicious salad sandwiches and cake.
26: After lunch one group went walking with Wayne, Trevor and Cat. We saw a big lake with Grebes on it. We tasted the water. It was a bit salty. It was not fresh like the water near the paperbarks. The water at the lake was really clear. We could not see anything living in it. We could not hear frogs like over near the paperbark area. All of the trees in the lake were dead. Shay said he thought they died from too much water.
27: Why is the water getting salty? The dead trees tell us that the lake has not always been here. Most of this land has been cleared for farming and before that, the trees would have used all the rainfall and this area would have been dry, or it might have been a seasonal wetland that was only wet in winter. The new crops and pastures that replaced the bush don't use quite as much water as the bush did in the past and the surplus water slowly builds up in the soil. In these low parts of the landscape it eventually reaches the surface and we get lakes like this one. The soil has salt in it and water dissolves that salt as it rises. As the water evaporates from the surface of the lake the salt is left behind and the water gets slowly more and more salty. Scientist - Wayne O'Sullivan
29: We heard lots of birds and Simon told us about them. They were the Clamorous Reed Warbler, which clings to the reeds and calls ‘tweet-tweet-tweet-crotchy-crotchy-crotchy’, a Rufous Whistler which sounds like a car alarm and a Silver eye which says ‘dee-dee’ as it flies. There were also White-winged Wrens calling from the thick trees near the paperbarks. They make a twittering sound that goes round and round. " I would like to go into the forest and find new types of birds. " Mahmoud
31: We walked into the banksia woodland. We saw all sorts of plants and shrubs. There were lots of plants. Some of the area was cleared. Some looked like a fire had been through. We could see the wheat crop in the distance. Wayne called some plants local or endemic. He also pointed out some weeds. He said some were spiny rush and another one was tagasaste. He said sometimes garden plants or crops get into the bushland and they take over - then they are a weed.
32: Why are some of the Banksia's dying? | You can often see that the canopy on the Banksia's is dying back. This is a sign of stress. This could be from a number of factors such as; secondary salinisation, caused by land clearing around the surrounding landscape, distress from root damage, or sometimes when land is cleared for tracks and roads, roots are damaged. It may also be that the soil is compacted from day to day use of vehicles. A certain amount of these deaths could also be natural as the vegetation is very dense and plants are competing for water, light and nutrients. This process drives natural processes in our bushland. As plants die they provide habitat for termites, which eat fallen dead wood. In turn the termites are eaten by echidnas, reptiles and other bushland critters.
34: The second group went for a walk with Simon. We walked along the edge of the wetland and into the bush to look for birds. The first thing we noticed were Hoary-headed Grebes which swam on the lake. Simon said these are often seen in salty water which made us think the water had some salt in it. We also saw Australian Ringnecks perched in the dead trees in the middle of the lake. Simon said the dead trees had hollows which might provide homes for Twenty Eights.
35: Bird List: Silvereye White-winged Fairy-wren Rufous Whistler Inland Thornbill Hoary-headed Grebe Red-capped Robin Australian Ringneck Twenty Eights Australian Raven Grey Fantail Australian Reed-warbler Brown Goshawk Wedge-tailed Eagle
36: Is the Kookaburra a local bird? The Laughing Kookaburra was first introduced by white people to South-Western Australia in 1897. Hundreds of birds were released from several places, including the Perth Zoo and the species had become well established by the 1950's. It is likely that Kookaburras have a negative impact on many native species including frogs, reptiles and small birds, however this has never been measured. In places like Boshack where there is not much thick bush and leaf litter, small animals have nowhere to hide and would be easy pickings for Kookaburras. Scientist - Simon Cherriman
38: To take an interest in your natural surroundings is a normal childhood instinct. The problem is, too many people believe they need to grow out of such instincts. Scientist - Simon Cherriman
39: We liked visiting Boshack Outback. It was a great day and we learned a lot. We will take some of the things we learned back to our school and look at our school garden and how we can encourage local species in our gardens. Thanks NRM Wheatbelt. Thanks Millennium Kids.
40: Using the MK Ten Step Methodology, students looked at ways they could help the local environment: * Monitor birds in the area * Learn about local birds * Help reduce weeds in bushland areas * Learn about indigenous history * Learn about local reptiles and their habitats * Monitor frogs and macro-invertebrates in dams and waterways * Plant local species in school grounds * Help local bushland groups
42: Thank you to West Northam Primary School for their hard work: Teachers: Sally Barlow, Trevor Davis, Cassandra Nicholas and Shirley Slater. Students: Sheridan, Charisma, Jarrod, Jenny, Totti, Darby, Mahmoud, Zoe, Shay, Deekan, Heidi, Lawrence, Lachlan, Riely, Aalyiah, Gemma, Kiziah, Amy and Lakeisha. Helpers: James Ryder and Lisa Southley.
43: ABOUT BOSHACK OUTBACK Boshack Outback is a 142 hectare (350 acre) working farm located 90 minutes from Perth, Western Australia. It is surrounded by pristine bushland, freshwater springs and a lake, a tranquil place to enjoy a farm stay, farm tour or to just relax by the lake and soak in the atmosphere of the Australian outback. If you would like to get back to the basics of life in a beautiful setting – solar powered, fresh gardens of organic food and simple accommodation - then you are are up for a unique adventure and farmstay at Boshack Outback. www.boshackoutback.com