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Be inspired by other projects!

Read about some great projects from students across Australia inspired by Embrace the Wild and through the Royal Botanic Gardens' Youth Community Greening program.

A Sanctuary for Local Threatened Bird Species

several young students working in the garden
Students from Howlong Public School hard at work.

In the small border town of Howlong, along the banks of the Murray River, live two small threatened native birds that are listed as vulnerable. The Diamond Firetail (Staponoeleura guttata) and the Speckled Warbler (Chthonicola sagittata). 

The birds are threatened as the result of habitat loss, feral animals and the invasion of introduced plant species. The students from Howlong Public School decided to create a sanctuary within their school by designing and developing a habitat that would provide the birds with food and shelter and at the same time creating a beautiful garden at the entrance to their school.


Many shrubs in the front of the school
The finished garden ready for the birds

Whilst both birds feed almost exclusively on the ground, the firetail’s preferred food is ripe seeds and the warbler’s is insects. The students researched the birds and discovered that they required thick shrub vegetation to provide cover but also perching branches. The birds also needed a diversity of plants that would produce seeds throughout the year and attract insects. The results of the students’ efforts have been amazing.



Outdoor Learning Space

two students in green uniforms with lots of logs in a pile
Students creating their outdoor space.

With the help of the Youth Community Greening program, Shelley Public School in Blacktown has transformed a disused space into an outdoor learning resource and habitat for a myriad of creatures. 

Paths connect different breakout learning areas and the garden provides habitats for birds, reptiles, amphibians and countless invertebrates. It didn’t take long before spawn was discovered in the frog pond and now the sound of frogs is a constant. A variety of bug hotels provide shelter for native bees, wasps and other pollinators and nests have begun to appear in the trees and shrubs. 

a path with stepping stones in a garden
A beautiful outdoor learning space.

The school uses the outdoor learning space regularly for a range of teaching and learning activities giving the students the opportunity to benefit academically, physically and mentally. 


Bringing back the Butterflies

A chequered swallowtail is a species of butterfly the
school aimed to attract by planting for the adults and
the caterpillars. Photo: William Warby

At Mark Oliphant College in South Australia, over 120 educators, families and community members have Embraced the Wild by attracting native butterflies back to their school. 

Under the guidance of local Aboriginal elders of the Kaurna Nation, students and teachers began this project by learning together about native butterflies and their needs. This helped them to design a garden that would not only attract local butterfly species, but also provide food for their caterpillars.

The butterfly garden was hugely successful in bringing the community together and sharing knowledge about local native species. Importantly, the garden continues to benefit both butterflies and the community, by providing a beautiful new space for families to enjoy.

Our children live in a highly urbanised community, and through this connection to the natural world we aim to spark a love of the natural environment and promote a stronger sense of wellbeing in children.’ 
- Linda Rich, Mark Oliphant Head Teacher

Restoring Bush by Creating Understorey Habitats

In South Australia, Bellevue Heights Primary School has a wonderful leadership program which focuses on sustainability, student well-being and intercultural awareness. Under the guidance of their teacher Margot Bradley, Year 7 students have helped to restore a 600 m2 patch of local Greybox Grassy woodland. This habitat is listed as an ‘endangered ecological community’ under Australian federal law.  

Understorey habitats hold many hidden gems
such as this amazing Bird Poo Spider that
mimics bird poo. Photo: Jean and Fred CC

During working bees, student ‘Park Rangers’ helped to remove introduced weeds growing in the understorey, and to plant and mulch native shrubs in their place. 

With help from the community and the guidance of the Friends of Shepherd’s Hill Recreation Park, students have contributed to restoring about a third of the understorey habitat! This has created a new wildlife corridor, helping a range of animals move between two wildlife refuges in the outer suburbs of Adelaide. 

The school’s aim in future is to use the park as an outdoor teaching space for biology classes. They hope to create a quiet space for students to reflect, and even plan to install a pond for native frogs sometime soon.