Scientists in Schools

Plant Protection Innovation

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  • Chris DiCorleto, St Gabriel's Primary School, Traralgon
  • Megan Burns, Scientific Officer, Gippsland Water

Year 6 students at St Gabriel's Primary School in Traralgon have been working in a partnership with Megan Burns to devise methods of protecting Dwarf Kerrawang plants at Gippsland Water's Dutson Downs property. Megan gave the students the dimensions of the endangered wetland plant and their project was to design a structure that would stop rabbits, wallabies and kangaroos from eating the plant.

The students came up with some very innovative ways to ensure the plant could grow without animals eating it. A number of the ideas included wire mesh held down with tent pegs, a plastic container with holes all over it, placing a wooden fence around it, scarecrows and speakers with loud sounds to scare the animals away.

Diagram of student's idea for wire mesh plant protection

After some group discussion, one design was adopted and the students set out to make them and install them around the plants. Initial plant measurements were taken, such as the presence of flowers and seeds. This information will be collated and included in a report to the Department of Sustainability and Environment on the effectiveness of the protection.

St Michael's Primary School in Traralgon heard about Megan's work with St Gabriel's Primary School, and asked if she would come and talk to their students about locally threatened species of plants. Megan received some lovely thank you cards from the students at St Michael's Primary School after her visit there in May 2010.