Hi Nature Ambassadors, This is Sienna Cross, last year's Nature Ambassador Leader, I’m writing again to tell you all about this month's events at the Yalikut Willam Nature Reserve!
It's getting close to the end of the year so there are lots of special events on in celebration, including our Annual General Meeting.
Below are this month’s Events, and a little story of the last Working Bee and the new Frog ponds.
Our goal is to strengthen the connection between our School and this incredible Nature Reserve communities. Highlighting stories from students that visit and participate – such as Lila and Ava who wrote about separating plants last month.
I hope we see you there!
EVENTS FOR NOVEMBER (further info: https://www.elsternwickpark.org/ )
Friday the 10th: 3- 4:30 pm: Members of the Reserve are invited to join us on a Commemorative Walk from the Elwood Pier to the Park. In memory of beloved YWNA member Geoff Love. Be ready to learn all about the history of the Reserve and the Elwood Canal, as we have historian Douglas Hermann joining us.
Friday the 10th: 5-6 pm: In celebration of this year, the Plant Lab is having an Open Day at the YWNA Shed, this is open to anyone wanting to hear from members and volunteers about the Reserve’s Master Plan, or even just anyone interested in learning about how different plants can affect many aspects of our ecosystem.
Friday the 10th: 6-9 pm: The YWNA is having an end-of-year Celebration at the Bowls Club! So, if you are a member, come celebrate with us the work our community has done over the years to continue creating the Yalukit Willam Reserve. There will be a panel where volunteers including myself will answer questions about what has been accomplished and the many exciting plans for the future. We hope to see you all there!
Saturday the 11th: 7-11 pm: A Fly by Night will be held. These dusk activities are an important part of learning how every aspect of our environment connects. These nighttime critters (moths, bats and more) can teach us a lot about the ecosystem of the reserve we are creating, from the species of trees to the birds. These events can sometimes end up with discovering new species, and you ALWAYS learn something new.
Sunday the 12th: 9:30 -10:30 am: A Love Our Streets Cleanup. This is a crucial step in creating a clean and inviting environment for us and the wildlife.
Saturday the 25th: 9- 12 pm: This is our next Working Bee! Where there will be lots of planting, wheelbarrowing, digging and more! There will also likely be a sausage sizzle! So come down to this event on Saturday, we are looking forward to seeing you there!
Sunday the 26th: 9:30-12 p.m.: The reserve will be hosting a Water watch. You can do many activities at a Water watch, including listening to pond creatures, finding micro invertebrates and tiny fish in the water, and testing the water quality to see if it is healthy.
Last month's working bee.
At last month’s Working Bee, we opened up a new pond area, separate from the rest!
The Elwood Canal flows directly into the Reserve’s Chain of Ponds, meaning that any species which makes its way into the Canal also affects the species in the park.
These new ponds are designed specifically for protecting frogs, acting as a sanctuary for them, as they are usually preyed upon by Gambusia (Mosquito Fish), an introduced species that has been wreaking havoc with our ecosystem.
Gambusia lives in the canal, so the separate ponds will largely increase the chances of bringing back native frogs to the area.
This is really exciting as over the years we have lost many frog species native to Elwood because of these fish.
But that wasn’t the only job at the Working Bee, we also started planting Tall Spike Rush, a wetlands grass, into the ecosystem, to create nutrients for the water.
There were many other jobs to be done like collecting seeds from the Plant Lab, and even weeding.
We live in an amazing area, full of biodiversity at our doorstep, looking forward to seeing you guys out here enjoying it.
2023 National Tree Planting Day
On Friday the 28th of July, our Nature Ambassadors and classes 3J and 5S worked with Alex and Pascale from Port Philip Eco Centre to help plant over 1000 trees! These were planted at the back of our school park along Keats street.
The students potted many native plants like Coast Saltbush and learned about the importance of understory and overstory vegetation, as well as the benefits for our local flora and fauna. They even got to use a special volcanic mineral jelly to improve soil structure and plant hydration!
What a wonderful way to commemorate National Tree Planting day by volunteering their time and giving back to their community.
From the ‘Green Team’ Jacq and Sarah
2023 P-6 Nature Ambassadors
2022 Elsternwick Park Nature Ambassador LeaderSienna is our Nature leader here at EPS. Sienna collaborates with Elstenwick Park to educate the community about nature and local community projects at Elstenwick Park.
On Saturday the 30th July, the monthly Working Bee was held at Elsternwick Park.
It was a beautiful sunny day to be outside in nature. At least 30 people showed up including students in our Nature Ambassador Program to enjoy the nice weather. For lunch there was sausages in bread on the barbeque, as well as tea and biscuits.
There are a whole range of things to do at the Working Bees, for example, some days you will be planting seeds, digging up dirt and moving it or even building bird boxes. All of these things are a vital help to building our wonderful nature reserve.
These working bees are free to join for anyone of any age who is interested in planting, digging, or helping our environment.
They are on the last Saturday of every month from 2-5pm. We would LOVE for you to join us!
Go to https://www.elsternwickpark.org to find out more.
On Thursday the 9th of June, the EPA hosted the Ecocentre’s gathering of teachers from the Teacher’s Environment Network in the Nature Reserve. Nearly 40 teachers came, all eager to learn about the many ways to bring greater biodiversity and environmental awareness to their schools. Alex (from the Ecocentre) invited me to come and talk about the new ambassador roles at our school and why we are connecting the school and the park together.
Soon after a quick introduction from Alex and Natalie (the president of Elsternwick Park Association), we went on a tour around the reserve led by Gio Fitzpatrick. He showed us all the amazing plants, and birds at the park, explaining why each plant was put in and what birds and other creatures it would affect.
Afterwards, we all went back to the EPA shed where Alex invited me up to speak.
As I started talking, it was obvious that the teachers were paying attention, they all stopped what they were doing and turned their focus on me, listening in on my every word as I explained the importance of connecting and educating children to nature. And how children are the next generation, and that it’s important that they care and respect nature so they can help save it.
Following this, teachers were inspired, asking me questions about how we could possibly set up ambassador roles at other schools. Even asking if I would go on zoom calls with their students so they could hear what I had to say. I am super excited by their enthusiasm and hope that they will take on board my idea and try it at their schools, because kids are the future and it’s up to us to fix it.
Recently, Elsternwick Park Association has kindly donated us some Black Wattle seedlings for us to plant around the school.
These plants grow very quickly, and are an easy way to help increase the biodiversity at our school. The bark on these trees are a great host for many different types of insects that are native to this area. Unlike other trees Black Wattles produce nectar in their leaves as well as their flowers, this, along with the plentiful supply of insects makes this an ideal location for many bird species. These plants are a great way to bring a wider diversity of animals to our beautiful school.
We hope that we can continue to do more things like this to help support wildlife in the future.