During Term 3, 2014, stage 2 primary school students from Holy Cross Catholic School, Kincumber and St John the Baptist Catholic School, Woy Woy and secondary school mentors from St Joseph’s Catholic College and St Edward’s College, East Gosford were invited to undertake a Project Insitu with Taronga Zoo. This community education program aimed at enabling students to become yellow bellied glider guardians, habitat experts and active participants in the development of wildlife corridors.
All students, both mentors and primary school children, were issued with a diary which provided scaffolds for recording information, data, learning experiences and reflections. Curriculum rich learning experiences were delivered by educators from Taronga Zoo, Gosford City Council, the Catholic Schools Office and Community Environment Networks with further support from Bara Barang and National Parks and Wildlife Services.
Our primary students have become informed advocates for yellow bellied gliders through this diverse program that has increased their knowledge of yellow bellied glider biology, habitat creation, sustainable behaviors, Aboriginal histories and cultures, and communication techniques. Further to this, their high school mentor students have provided leadership and guidance to their primary school learning teams.
This unique program culminated in the students creating and exhibiting their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the form of public displays aimed at educating the community about local biodiversity issues and yellow bellied glider protection. Through the students’ passion and expertise, community members have now been encouraged to become active in the creation and preservation of habitats.
Project Insitu – Yellow Bellied Glider is an excellent example of inquiry based learning where the question, investigation, and outcomes are truly meaningful to the learner, and the students apply newly-acquired knowledge in their own communities. The program also has longevity as there is scope to build on knowledge gained and monitor progress from year to year.
We would like to thank everyone who has been involved and congratulate all the students on the completion of such a wonderful project.