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Ramsar Protection Project 2022-2023: An update from French Island

By Julie Trezise- French Island Landcare Group

Feral Cat Free French Island Project/Two Great Ramsar Wetlands Project

In November 2022, 70 Enduro Swift 4G enabled cameras, solar panels, SD cards, rechargeable batteries, sim cards with 12 month pre-paid plans, 12 month subscription to the Artificial Intelligence software program eVorta were purchased with funding from Melbourne Water and Western Port Biosphere.  Additional hardware was purchased by French Island Landcare Group through Ramsar fundings which included hardwood stakes, metal brackets and bolts for installation of the cameras and solar panels in the field.

Julie Trezise and Michael Johnston configured the cameras, designed their placement and completed the installation and ongoing monitoring.  Design of additional camera monitoring and installation aimed to increase coverage across the whole island landscape to further assist with population estimate modelling whilst also taking advantage of known pinch points to provide vital intel to operational crews.

Installation began in December 2022 and was completed in mid-January 2023. Feral cat trapping operations ran from mid-January to the end of February.  The eVorta subscriptions were set to alert the presence of feral cats in real time.  All cat alerts were sent to Parks Victoria and the operational crew every morning to provide vital intel for targeted trapping.  Feedback was very positive, receiving daily intel of feral cat locations during operations was incredibly helpful.

On-ground operations have stopped since the end of February, however the alerts continue to be forwarded to Parks Victoria and trapping crews daily.  The number of cat detections has increased in June 2023 and now we are seeing multiple cats and kittens across the entire island and cat detection alerts are daily.

The first service of these new cameras and the original cameras was completed in June 2023 by Michael Johnston and Dave Caldwell with help from Bunurong Land Council and Parks Victoria.  Three cameras were stolen and four were not working and sent back for repair under warranty.  These cameras have since been reinstalled.

Wildlife are captured by the cameras and help tell the story of the benefits from reducing predation pressure through the removal of feral cats from French Island.  There has been a noticeable increase in single images with multiple potoroos and many more images of ground nesting birds with chicks and other cool wildlife interactions.  The suppression of feral cats has had a positive impact on wildlife.

Parks Victoria has a new Project Officer, Lucy.  They have plans to undertake a cage trapping pulse in August to October and may include some night shooting.

French Island Landcare Group continue to support Responsible Cat Ownership.  We encourage all cat owners to have their cats on our database with up to date photos of both sides of the cat.  De-sexing and micro-chipping remains fully funded, please contact us to help organize this.  Research suggests that cats that are kept in enclosures and not allowed to roam actually live much longer lives and our wildlife also benefit from this arrangement.  Collars and shaved sections of the tail help to identify the domestic cats on camera and if caught in a trap.


Western Port Ramsar Enhancement Project

French Island Landcare Group has partnered with Melbourne Water to deliver priority actions that contribute to the protection of enhancement of the Western Port Ramsar site.  French Island Landcare Group has engaged with landholders to control coastal woody weeds and manage rabbits within the surrounding coastal saltmarsh vegetation community.

The Western Port Ramsar Enhancement project aims to protect, maintain and enhance the ecological values of internationally significant wetlands in the Western Port Ramsar site.  French Island Landcare Group received funding from Melbourne Water to contribute to this project by managing European rabbits and coastal woody weeds.  Rabbits impact Ramsar wetlands through excessive grazing on delicate habitat such a saltmarsh.  They dig extensive burrow systems which also damage these fragile ecosystems.  Woody weeds provide excellent harbour for rabbits and out-compete our native vegetation.  An integrated management approach of rabbit control using multiple tools combined with woody weed removal to reduce harbours is important to increase the success of the project.

This is a multiyear project.  In 2022/23, we completed the first pulse of rabbit control.  Starting with a baiting program across 3 adjoining properties, followed by an intensive shooting program on 10 properties.  Hutches were used throughout the baiting pulse to minimize impact on the baits from rain and reduce non-target uptake of baits.  The baiting program reduced the rabbit population on these properties however, wet weather was a hindrance and therefore the next baiting program will be delivered over the summer months to improve the efficacy and longevity of the baits and improve the outcome.  The shooting pulse ran over 6 nights and despite rain on 4 of those nights the team removed 270 rabbits, which will make a significant difference to the landscape in these areas.  Timberscope were engaged to complete this work, they did a great job and were very professional.

Woody weed works will be completed in 2023/24 financial year along with a second pulse of rabbit control involving both baiting and shooting. The output deliverable of 20 Ha of woody weed control was not met but we will deliver at least 30 Ha of woody weed control on coastal properties in the next financial year.  We exceeded out environmental works output for pest animal control (rabbits) which was a target of 20 Ha in 2022/23 and delivered 108 Ha of baiting and 219 Ha of shooting.


Nursery and Community Garden Update

We have completed stage 1 of the Nursery/Community Garden.  We have moved in and have commenced the new growing season.   Stage 2 is the garden design.  That is a work in progress.  Our next major job is the rabbit proof fencing and the gravel pathways.

As you can see in the photos, we have been very busy.  The soil bay proved to be a challenge, as some of the screws were stuck hard in the timber and wouldn’t budge.  It was a case of pulling it apart.  Re-assembling it, was much easier.  The weed-mat has been laid, the sprinkler system installed and the benches put in place, ready for the plants to be moved in.  Shelving has been put together and placed in the shed and is now full of all our pots and equipment. The Chem Shed has also been moved and all gardening tools are hanging in their respect places.  The pergola has been finished and a small power systems has been installed.



Project Update – Quarter 1 2023/24

Lucy Kyriacou- Project Manager

It’s been a busy start to the new financial year with multiple projects being managed across the talented team. Projects ranging from small budgeted initiatives, such as supporting community groups like the Friends’ Of Haig Street, Bittern, turn a weed infested paddock with low biodiversity value, into a haven for wildlife, to multifaceted projects with multiple elements and stakeholders, such as the blue carbon planning project, which aims to plan for the future of coastal wetlands on a site-by-site basis across Western Port to support landholders to conserve and enhance these incredible ecosystems.

Read on to find out more.

Blue Carbon planning:

World Mangrove Day, on July 26th, saw the first stakeholder working group meeting take place in the Tooradin District Sports Club, nestled among the mangroves of the area. The day was a huge success, bringing together over thirty project stakeholders, including representatives from schools, DEECA, OzFish, Blue Carbon Lab, the Seagrass Partnership, Landcare, Councils, Moonlit Sanctuary, Nature Parks, and local landowners and landholders, to enjoy a schedule that included a mangrove walk and talk, and presentations from guest speakers, including Adrian Flynn from Fathom Pacific and Dick Cox from the Seagrass Partnership. The group participated in a workshop to gather foundational information for the blue carbon site assessments and management plans, and to start to consider areas of particular interest for the project and mark them on maps of Western Port. We were able to share with the group the work that the Blue Carbon Lab has commissioned for the seven neighbouring councils on ‘Blue Carbon Opportunities’ in the Mornington Peninsula & Western Port Biosphere Reserve. This work included a series of maps that shows the state of Blue Carbon before European settlement and the condition today. This information informed the participants and assisted them input their knowledge into areas for consideration for further planning. A summary of the report can be found here as part of a story map Blue Carbon in Western Port and Eastern Port Phillip Bay (

The assessors have been busy over the quarter visiting properties and blue carbon ecosystem areas to connect with owners and experts around Western Port and build support for the project. Property owners have been interested to hear about the potential gains to be made for wildlife and to protect their productive land by conserving and enhancing blue carbon. Some landowners are already getting straight into it with installing exclusion fencing to help protect saltmarsh. One landowner did not realise that by removing a levee at the bottom of the property and letting tidal inundation happen they could create blue carbon habitat and improve the land’s ability to cope with sea level rise and increased intensity of storm surges. They said they would be very happy to look out across wetlands in the bottom paddocks. The aim of the project is to do a detailed business case on improving these ecosystems for each property, helping the landowner to make a more informed decision on what they would like to do. There is growing evidence demonstrating that enhancing nature on farms increases productivity. More lambs survive because they are protected from the elements, and milk yields increase for dairy cows while beef cows gain weight, expending less energy by not having to keep hot or cold as they are protected with vegetation from wind and the sun. Access to cleaner and cooler water is also shown to improve productivity.

In September we held a day to work with some of the leading technical experts in marine science and blue carbon in Western Port to start the design process for the blue carbon site assessment templates. Coastal wetlands are complex ecosystems with multiple elements to consider, and still much unknown about them, so any intervention to restore or protect them must be done with caution.

The Blue Carbon planning project is being supported by experts including Fathom Pacific, marine consultants with a long history of research and conservation in Western Port, Bass Coast Landcare, who have much experience in catchment management and mangrove restoration, Lance Lloyd, Aquatic Ecologist and Water Stewardship Advisor, with a career in hydrological systems management, and other experts such as Dr Pat MacWhirter, and saltmarsh and indigenous plant botanist, Gidja Walker.

In addition, we had planned for the day a cultural awareness event at the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation venue in Frankston, to help raise our awareness on the cultural history and specifically the links in with healing water, sea and land country with opportunities to include First Nations perspectives in the design of the restoration activities.

We would like to thank everyone for their interest and engagement in the project and look forward to working together to achieve Western Port-wide blue carbon protection.

Please go here for more details about the project.

Blue Carbon planning in the Western Port Biosphere Reserve 2023/24 – Western Port Biosphere

Water Stewardship – public fund:

$30,000 of the Public Fund, created through the kind donations by members and other donors, has been allocated this financial year to continue our work to create a network of Water Stewards across Western Port to improve catchment management practices, enhance water quality and conservation, and increase the value of properties for biodiversity.

This quarter has been the initiation of this process, with Water Stewards contacted and offered renewed support for their water stewardship ambitions. The team has been revisiting landholders, reviewing plans, updating action plans, and setting new goals for the future.

Many gains can be made from planting up and mulching riparian zones with indigenous species. This prevents erosion, slows the movement of water through catchments, and helps reduce the impact of flashy flows in times of high rainfall. It also has the added value of increasing habitat and improving the whole property’s value for biodiversity. Water Stewards such as Somers Camp, St Mary’s Primary, and Luxton Park have put in orders for large numbers of plants to achieve these goals on their properties.

This phase of the project also aims to support water stewards access funding through grants and to improve stakeholder knowledge of the cultural heritage values of waterways by engaging Traditional Owners to offer advice and, where applicable, carry out cultural assessments.


Queen’s Jubilee – Haig Street Reserve:

Haig Street Reserve is a paddock located within a small estate of bush blocks in Bittern. Formerly, a large grassy expanse, with a few remnant eucalypts, a dam surrounded by blackberries and a creek lined with gorse. Other invasive species include watsonia and kikuyu grass. All this is in the process of evolution from a wildlife desert to a wildlife haven thanks to the hard work and dedication of a group of motivated residents who approached the Council to help them transform the site.

The remnant eucalypts have been linked together with ‘corridors’ of indigenous species and mulched to suppress weeds. The dam has been cleared of blackberries, mulched, and planting has begun to provide protection for ducks, small birds, long-necked turtles, skinks, lizards, and frogs. The side of the paddock with the creek has been planted up with canopy species for koalas, parrots, owls, tawny frogmouths, possums, and other native animals. The group meet once a month to weed, mulch, plant, and connect over a shared passion for supporting local wildlife and improving ecosystems for biodiversity.

The project has been enhanced through the Queen’s Jubilee grant from the Biosphere Foundation, which has provided extra plants, signage, a bench, and extra slashing and weeding days by contractors, Naturelinks, helping to rid the dam of hundreds of square metres of blackberries.


Biodiversity in Schools:

Our Biodiversity in Schools program continues with climate action and environmental restoration workshops for schools through the Climate Action, Blue Carbon Planning, Water Stewardship and the 2023/24 15 Trees projects. We always have opportunities available to schools through our fee-for-service program. Please see Biodiversity in Schools – Western Port Biosphere for details.


Fortnightly harvest exchange launches at the Briars’ Eco Living Display Centre

By Jacqui Salter- Community Environmental Education Coordinator, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

Bring your excess produce to our home harvest exchange and swap with other home gardeners. No coins needed – fresh produce is all the currency you’ll need. Meet likeminded people and pick up some handy tips along the way.

We are launching the exchange on Saturday 4 November, 11am – 12pm

Stay a little longer and enjoy a free vegan lunch!

Register here:

The harvest exchange will then run fortnightly on the first Saturday of each month 11am – 12pm and the third Thursday of each month 9.30 – 10.30am

Where: Eco Living Display Centre, The Briars 450 Nepean Highway, Mount Martha

More information: Eco Living Display Centre – Mornington Peninsula Shire (

Contact: [email protected]

Climate and environment will benefit as finance runs the maths on risks

By Geoff Brooks, Foundation Board Director

There’s a somewhat cynical finance industry saying that self-interest beats compound interest every time. But it accurately reflects the reality that the environmental cause would only ever gain real momentum when the downside effects of climate change and ecosystem degradation and loss started hitting hip pockets.

The Insurance Council of Australia commissioned the McKell Institute to investigate the annual cost of natural disasters to households. McKell’s report ‘The Cost of Extreme Weather’ was published in 2022, revealing the costs averaged $1,532 over the 2021-22 financial year, up from $888 ten years earlier. It went on to project that this would rise to $2,500 per household by 2050 – coincidentally the year targeted for net zero emissions.

McKell attributed this to every Australian shouldering recovery costs in terms of government expenses paid for through taxes, insurance costs, uninsured damage and increased prices due to supply chain shortages.

Outside of the Biosphere Foundation, I spend some of my time providing communications consultancy to financial services organisations across investment, superannuation and financial planning. Much of this is focused on writing thought leadership pieces for various consumer and trade publications. I have been doing it for more than 20 years.

For a large number of those years for many investment houses, ESG (Environment/Social/Governance) screening was largely a point of differentiation, to apply a Paul Keating line to some fund ESG claims “all tip and no iceberg”.

This is not over. There has been substantial media coverage of ASIC’s crackdown on a major super fund which the regulator alleges claimed to “exclude investments in companies involved in carbon-intensive fossil fuels”, alcohol production and gambling, but was invested in nearly 50 oil, coal, beer and wine, and gambling companies, including AGL, BHP, Whitehaven Coal, Treasury Wine Estates, Crown Resorts and Tabcorp.

The regulatory crackdown has reportedly led to several substantial funds removing their responsible investment reports and disclosures from websites having found “anomalies”. The bottom line is that the industry is not there yet.

However, I get a sense that change is occurring and ASIC’s current push will only accelerate it.  There is a noticeable shift in the conversation. I am writing much more about investor perspectives on sustainability, the risks associated with climate change, energy consumption, degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity loss. The penny, or more appropriately the millions, appears to be finally dropping.

Those advocating from the heart on environmental issues have been doing it for years, with limited resources. Researchers have spent much of their time looking for funding rather than evidence. The everyday need to earn a living and nurture families have made the environmental crusade a part-time affair for volunteer campaigners.

We should therefore embrace the potential firepower that the finance industry’s focus on sustainability will bring to our cause. Climate, environment and sustainability are now welded onto the core risk assessments being made by most responsible investment managers.

There will always be outliers and we can certainly debate the answers that some of those assessments produce, as evidence by the current ASIC crackdown but, having worked within the system for some time, I can assert that integration into risk matrices is happening and is a substantial step forward.

So what do I see as the benefits of the full engagement of the finance sector in climate and environmental risk assessment? Consider the following:

  1. Self-interest

This is not just on the part of the industry, but its clients. The best investors understand risk as well as returns. Their assessments are made on the basis of expected ‘risk adjusted returns’ rather than absolute returns. They want to understand how risks can be managed or removed. Environmental stewardship is now high on the list for a growing number of industries wanting to maintain or attract on-going investor support.

  1. Good at maths

Finance runs on mathematics. The industry can afford to attract the best and brightest and does so. So there is a lot of really smart people whose job roles now include building models for assessment of climate and environmental risks. This ultimately translates into powerful advocacy to government, economists, investors and consumers on the need for climate action and the protection of biodiversity. I have just worked on a piece informing investors of the risks associated with unsustainable agricultural and the need to support a shift to regenerative and targeted agricultural practice.

  1. Moving money

The power to move money will be an important influencer in the ways companies take responsibility for their environmental footprint, which will need to reduce. Financial institutions, led in Australia by the industry super funds, are demonstrating their capacity and willingness to do this. It is a global trend.

  1. Influence

Arguably outside of the pharmaceutical industry, there are no more powerful lobbyists than those deployed by the finance sector. Banking, superannuation, financial planning and various investor and shareholder groups have the access and influence at national and state level that others can only dream about. If finance wants to move the dial on climate action and environment, it will add great weight to the efforts of those who have been advocating on those fronts for decades.

  1. Demographic change

Boomers like me are locked into the outgoing tide. It’s happening within the finance sector as it is everywhere else. The evidence of recent elections shows the emerging power, influence, culture and priorities of Generations X, Y and Z. They are laser focused on the impacts climate change and environment will have within their lifetime. Most of the end users of my services a now run by these generations. It is refreshing and optimistic to see them hitting the refresh button on sustainable business.

From the perspective of the Biosphere Foundation and others advocating for climate action, ecosystem protection and sustainable living, there is potential for new partnerships with major players in Australian commerce.

Our foundation is attracting growing attention and support from all levels of government, but we are also uniquely positioned to act as a facilitator and centre of new multi-sector partnerships between business, community and government to bring new investment into promoting and preserving the future of the Western Port Biosphere Reserve.

Should we be worried about an El Niño? 

By Stephen Brend, Project Officer 

Image from:

The short answer to the question posed by this piece’s title is “no, but we should be prepared.”  It has been said that the weather is a bit like a person’s mood, but climate is like their personality.  El Niño is a climate driver; it will affect the character of the coming summer. 

How an El Niño develops is complicated, involving oceanic currents, sea temperatures, prevailing winds and atmospheric conditions.  Given all those factors it is not surprising that, when they all come together, the impacts are felt around the world.  Indeed, even though El Niño is primarily associated with the Pacific Ocean, and so Australia’s East coast, it can cause droughts in Southern Africa.  The “Climate Dogs” series of animations, developed by the Bureau of Meteorology and available on You Tube, are a great summary of the science and impacts.   

In Australia, El Niño years are associated with hotter, drier conditions.  This obviously increases the risk of bushfires.  This is why we should be prepared.  While this is obviously true of every summer, an El Niño increases the risks.  Readers can look at the CFA’s “Plan and Prepare” webpages for more information.   

It is encouraging that the 2018-2019 El Niño, which was Australia’s hottest summer on record, was not marked by catastrophic fire.  Nevertheless, it looks likely that we will enter an El Niño this year and so we should get ready. 



CEO Report

By Mel Barker, Biosphere Foundation CEO

Welcome to the winter edition of the Connector.  I’ve been enjoying starting some of my days with a coffee overlooking Warn Marin (Western Port) near Hastings Pier.  Whilst the temperatures are currently rather refreshing (!), I like to spend 5 minutes appreciating the beauty of the Bay, as well as reflecting on its significance – both economically and environmentally.  In recent weeks all four UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Councils surrounding the Bay (Bass Coast, Casey, Cardinia and Mornington Peninsula) have confirmed their united support to see this critical economic and environmental asset managed effectively into the future through the development of a Strategic Framework for Western Port. If you’d like to add your support, then you can do so here. 

As you can read about in the updates from the team, they’ve continued their great work on a range of projects, research initiatives, education programmes and community engagement around the Biosphere Reserve.  Our engagement spans a wide gamut, from participating in community events, to speaking at a Melbourne Business School event, to presenting to the Bass Coast Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Standing Advisory Committee.  I believe it is important for us to participate in a wide range of fora to share our scientific knowledge, as well as listen to different perspectives and identify opportunities for us to partner with other organisations to deepen our impact. 

One of our partners, Moonlit Sanctuary, has provided an update for this edition about their conservation program for the pookila (formerly known as the New Holland Mouse).  I was delighted to be invited to attend the opening of Moonlit’s new Discovery Lab, launched by Minister for Water, Harriet Shing.  The Biosphere Foundation’s Water Ecologist, Lance Lloyd, was on hand to answer all the tricky questions from the kids that were present!  We’ve been starting to collaborate with two new partners for the Biosphere Foundation and look forward to announcing those very soon. 

I’m heading off to the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves conference on K’gari (Fraser Island) in September.  This will be a great opportunity to leverage knowledge and share ideas with other Biosphere Reserves from around the globe tackling similar issues to ourselves. There are several events coming up this year, including our AGM so I encourage you to keep an eye on our socials for the details. 

Energy from Waste 

By Stephen Brend, Project Officer 


Your non-recyclable wheely bin is emptied, and your rubbish is taken away.  Where does it go?  For most residents of the Biosphere Reserve, it will be to landfill which is simply a hole in the ground into which stuff is dumped before it is buried.  Once upon a time, this was considered the most cost-effective solution to disposing of household waste, but not anymore.  Landfills are in short supply, increasingly costly to operate and concern about contamination and methane emissions mean that they fall at the bottom of the EPA’s waste management hierarchy.   

Sitting above landfill, in the hierarchy, is energy from waste or, as it is often called, “advanced waste processing”.  In such a system, rubbish is screened so that any recyclable products are removed before the remainder is incinerated.  In much the same way as a coal-fired power station works, the heat from the burning of the waste is used to create steam which, in turn, drives a turbine that produces electricity.  In the UK, a typical “energy from waste” plant can produce enough electricity to power 30,000 homes (while coal fired may power 100,000).  The smoke from the incinerator is “scrubbed” to remove the worst toxins and as much CO2 as possible.  Finally, the resulting ash is sent for use in industry, particularly for road construction.   

Currently, there are no advanced waste processing facilities in our region.  However, we are drawing your attention to it as it seems highly likely that pressure will build to find an alternative to landfill.  An energy-from-waste plant may well be proposed.  How do you feel about it?  We have our thoughts but would be interested to hear yours.  You can contact us through [email protected] 

Sunshine Coast Biosphere logo design wins multiple awards

The Sunshine Coast Biosphere, Australia’s newest UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, has received both national and international recognition for its logo and branding in two graphic design awards.

Designed by Sunshine Coast Council’s Senior Graphic Designer, the logo design brief was to create a unique and meaningful identifier representing the Sunshine Coast Biosphere and the region: its history, community, lifestyle, economy and natural beauty. It needed to reflect the vibrancy and energy of the Sunshine Coast, provide flexibility of use and reflect the connections within the Biosphere Reserve. Sunshine Coast Biosphere Community Reference Group members provided input to ensure community views and opinions were incorporated into the design process for this brand representing the region.

The logo features fanned out leaves positioned in a radial pattern to show the energy of the region and the outward vision of the Sunshine Coast Biosphere. Each leaf represents a different element of the biosphere reserve, ‘celebrating people and nature’.

While creating a recognisable visual identity for the Sunshine Coast Biosphere, the branding is also intended to inform and resonate with the local community to create a sense of ownership, ensure positive engagement and support action for a sustainable Sunshine Coast.


Pookila conservation program at Moonlit Sanctuary

By Michelle Raki, Moonlit Sanctuary

Our Threatened Species Team has had a very exciting month!

Photo credit: Vic Zoo

Some soft squeaks led to the discovery of not one, not two, but FOUR adorable Pookila pups in their enclosure. This remarkable event marks the largest litter currently recorded at Moonlit Sanctuary.

The breeding of this pair has resulted in some very important genetic combinations that will contribute greatly to the recovery of this species. Once the pups are big enough to be weaned, keepers will be able to determine their gender which in turn may determine their role in the recovery program, whether they go on to breed when they are older or if they are potentially considered for the release aspect of the program down the track.

Keepers are also seeing and hearing some very positive signs from our other breeding pair so hopefully, some more success is on the way.

The Pookila Conservation Breeding and Reintroduction Program is a collaboration between the Victorian Department of Energy, Environments and Climate Action, Gippsland Water, Moonlit Sanctuary, Parks Victoria, the Australasian Zoo and Aquarium Association, Zoos Victoria and members of the national Pookila Recovery Team.

Bandicoot Habitat Garden at Koo Wee Rup Primary

By Corey Everitt- The Pakenham Star 

After almost 3-years of planning, education and support from the Western Port Biosphere Foundation, the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens and the Cardinia Shire, The Koo Wee Rup Primary School has been able to successfully re-vegetate the school’s Bandicoot Habitat.

Camera trapping from David Nicolls and Stephen Brend of the Southern Brown Bandicoot Regional Recovery group revealed at least one Southern Brown Bandicoot living onsite, alongside foxes, dogs and cats. Principal Benton Zimmerle says the project began with curiosity in 2020, then quickly grew into a vision of how the school could make a real impact on the future preservation of the Southern Brown Bandicoot.

On Thursday May 11th, with the help of staff, parents, Bendigo Bank staff, Western Port Swamp Landcare Group, Eilish of the Royal Botanical gardens Cranbourne, Jess of the Western Port Biosphere Foundation and all students of the school, 500 indigenous plants were planted as part of the Bandicoot Habitat Garden.

Mr Zimmerle feels that we can teach children about conservation, endangered animals and the importance of playing our part in creating a sustainable future, however this project has enabled the students at Koo Wee Rup Primary School to live the experience and participate in a truly worthwhile project that he hopes will create a legacy that will continue beyond their primary school years. Mr Zimmerle’s experience of the project has been one of a real privilege, to see the passion within our students to re-create this space for our local bandicoot population; a space where teachers can now use to teach the students the important role we can all play in conservation.

It’s never been more important to act for the Southern Brown Bandicoot, and having the local community come together for this cause has been wonderful. Southern Brown Bandicoots are preyed on by cats, foxes, and dogs, and desperately need coverage in densely planted native strappy plants to survive, and hopefully one day thrive, in these urbanised environments.

Southern Brown Bandicoots bring so many benefits to a landscape: their conical diggings allow for water penetration and nutrient circulation in the soil, they help spread seeds and beneficial fungi, and ultimately improve plant growth and health.

We look forward to watching this Bandicoot Habitat Garden grow at Koo Wee Rup Primary School, alongside the students and school community. Many thanks to all of those who played a role in this project and to the funders who assisted in the re-creation of this space, Junior Landcare, Cardinia Shire, and Commonwealth Government Environment Restoration Fund.