Jonah_000STUDENTS at Margaret River Independent School are going back to the bush to engage with the native forest surrounding the school.

The  Nyindamurra Bushland Reserve project has been embraced by the entire school with students from kindergarten through to Year 7 taking on different aspects of the environmental  education program.

Project facilitator and MRIS teacher, Peter St Clair Baker said a range of issues were being tackled through the project from Aboriginal and local history, plant identification,  rehabilitation of bushland to the construction of an aboriginal shelter – the Mia Mia.

Year 4/5 students are currently upgrading the school’s highly successful Frog Bog project launched in 2006 to provide a protective habitat for the priority #1 endangered frog species, geocrinia alba, only found in 130sq kms of WA’s Witchcliffe-Karridale area.

MRIS’s location in a recognised bio-diversity hotspot provides plenty of great opportunities for students to use the remnant bushland reserve for science-based, hands-on biological science work.

Previous pit-fall trapping around the school has seen the discovery of a number of very rare species including the Engaewa, a critically endangered South-West crayfish, and the students are thrilled to have regular visits by a pair of Quendas (Southern Brown Bandicoots).

“By getting out into the field,  the students are learning about history, science, technology and enterprise, geography and data collection as well as having lots of fun in their own backyard, ” Peter said.

The ongoing project is using the expertise of various local agencies including Koomal Dreaming, and the Department of Environment and Conservation.

BUSH BUDDY: Jonah O’Grady meets an amphibian.