Year 12 Environmental Science students enjoyed an excursion to Mt Rothwell earlier this term, witnessing biodiversity up close. The conservation efforts of Mt Rothwell and the Odonata Foundation have really helped some of Victoria’s threatened species. Students also had the opportunity to attend an information session and conduct some fieldwork.
At 473 hectares, Mt Rothwell is Victoria's largest feral-predator-free ecosystem. Foxes and cats were eradicated from the property more than a decade ago so that native mammal species could be reintroduced. Mt Rothwell currently holds approximately 80% of the mainland eastern barred bandicoot population which is currently recognised as the only stable self-sustaining population.
Students were able to set traps to catch and release some Victorian species, including potoroos and southern brown bandicoots. On a guided spotlight tour, we were lucky enough to encounter over fifty animals including tawny frogmouths, brushtail and ringtail possums, rufous bettongs and brushtail swamp wallabies. Students were able to use the collected data as part of their assessment in Unit 3. Highlights of the excursion included watching dingoes being fed, spotting eagle nests right near the education centre, and witnessing sunset on the You Yangs Regional Park.
"As part of my studies in Year 12 Environmental Science, my class was able to visit Mt Rothwell, a conservation reserve for native Australian plants and animals. Recently, we have been learning about biodiversity and the conservation efforts required to reduce the various levels of threats. We focused on eastern barred bandicoot, a species previously extinct in the wild which Mt Rothwell has the largest self sustaining population currently.
It was truly enriching to put our knowledge to use in the real world. We went spotlighting, where we saw so many Australian animals in their natural habitat, which was a new experience for me. We also set up our own animal traps to measure the diversity levels within specific populations. Later, we got to tabulate and collate data from the animals found in the traps. This was a hands-on experience where I was able to put my learning to practice. What an amazing experience to see animals we have studied in real life."