Lochinvar Public School bird habitat haven

Lochinvar Public School bird habitat haven

Lochinvar Public School bird habitat haven

Lochinvar Public School bird habitat haven

Collaborations -


The issue

Lochinvar Public school has an active group of students which call themselves 'nature ninjas' and as such a teacher expressed interest in doing some Junior Landcare activities.  One of the local councillors at Maitland City Council had also brought to my attention the degraded condition of the riparian zone along Lochinvar Creek and thought it would make a good Landcare site.  We discovered that a parcel of land (over 2500m2) adjoining Lochinvar Creek outside the school fence, which is owned by the Dept of Education, is dominated by herbacious weeds, exotic grasses and African Olive and has good potential to provide quality habitat.

The solution

I met with the school principal and we sought permission from the Dept of Education to carry out regeneration works.  Once the project was approved, I had to find funding and seek partners.  Solo Resource Recovery, through their Garden Organics program with Maitland City Council offered to provide the soil conditioner and mulch necessary to prepare the site.  I applied for a small community grant through Maitland City Council and also a grant from the Federal Community Environment Program through MP Joel Fitzgibbon. Both grants were successful and with the in-kind donations, I was able to work with the school to make this project a reality.

The impact

The students and their families now have a beautiful example of a bird habitat haven that demonstrates the native biodiversity values that can be achieved in their own backyards and rural properties.  This native planting contains a mix of flora species endemic to the local area which will be of great benefit to the ecosystem by attracting small birds such as wrens, finches, pardalotes, spinebills, silvereyes and other fauna such as skinks, lizards and more. 

Over 1500 native plants were planted over 800m2 including soft shrubs such as Pultenaea villosa, spiky protective shrubs such as Bursaria spinosa, grasses such as Themeda triandra and groundcovers such as Dianella caerulea.  A birdbath was constructed using bush rock and repurposed light fittings, large logs were placed for shelter for small animals and reptiles and an interpretive signboard has been erected for ongoing education and learning.

Each student (160 pupils) at the school took part in the final planting day in November 2020 to complete the bird habitat haven.  They learned valuable skills in taking care of our natural environment and showed plenty of enthusiasm.  They learned about habitat requirements, biodiversity and the difference between weeds and native species.  They are looking forward to taking part in citizen science annual bird counts for Birdlife Australia.

From one of the teachers "Thanks sooooooo much for your tremendous effort. Sorry it's been so hard to coordinate due to corona. We are truly blessed to have such a beautiful addition to our school. After reports I plan to take kids down to weed. I can't wait to hang out down there."

Key facts

  • 160 students took part in the bird habitat haven planting with plenty of enthusiasm.
  • 1500 plants were planted over 800 square metres.

Project Partners