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Projects for Animals

The Black Cockatoo

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

imageAt the Millenium Kids Discovering our Rivers Forum some of the students did a poetry workshop with Nandi Chinna and Annamaria Weldon. The following poem is from that workshop.


The Black Cockatoo

Flocks swarm over, as a blanket for the sun

Flying so graceful, with no need to run

Perching so gently upon the branch of a tree

Elegantly flutters so wild and free

They cover the sky as the black cloud comes near

Effortlessly stunning with no need to fear

Sadly today it just isn’t this way

We have to do something

To bring it back to that day

Repair the patch in the blanket or the cloud in the sky

We have to, one last time,

 to see them fly



Georgina D

Choonya = Turtle

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Did you know turtles eat ducklings? That choonya is a noongar word meaning turtle? That wetlands are habitats for these native animals? Sustainability Ambassadors from Kensington Primary School, in the City of South Perth, shared this information and more to their school mates at a presentation today in the form of a puppet play. They read the story “Choonya the Turtle”  by Noongar author Eddie Bednell and then performed the story using puppets made from recycled materials. The story shares the tale of Marban man, Winja, and his friendship with Choonya and how this friendship changed when turtle eaters moved into the area. Winja didn’t eat turtle. he was custodian for the turtles. Lucky for Choonya, Marban means magic, and the magic man Winja changed choonya’s feet so he could swim and made his neck long so Choonya could come up for air when he was in the water.. So now whenever man is around Choonya can dive deep underwater and keep away from the meat eaters.

It was a great way to talk about how Aboriginal people where custodians for different animals and their was a lively discussion in the classroom about where local turtles lived and what kids could do to help protect them.


‘ “I did a science presentation on turtles,” said Sophie. ‘i could take my presentation around to each classroom and help educate the school community about the turtle populations in our area.”

The students wrote a list of things people could do to protect the local turtles:

  • Dispose of rubbish properly. We don’t want turtles eating our waste.
  • If you see a turtle do not touch it.
  • Photograph
  • Take note of the weather
  • Time
  • Date
  • GPS the location
  • send the information to

One question they did want answered was

Do turtles eat yabbies?

  • Do they eat yabbies?


Turtles in the Burbs!

Friday, September 13th, 2013
Alica prepares the soil for planting.

Alica prepares the soil for planting.

Many children do not know that turtles live in the suburbs in the lakes and wetlands in the local parks.  Participants at the Swan Canning River Forums, hosted by Millennium Kids and the Swan River Trust , were surprised to hear that many of our lakes and wetlands are habitat for a local species of oblong turtle and that they are under pressure because the habitat has been changed over the years due to clearing and draining the area for housing developments. The kids did not know that 90% of wetlands in the metropolitan area of Perth had gone and when they heard that turtles needed a helping hand they planned an activity to help them out.Turtles In the Burbs

‘It was great to plant rushes and shrubs near Neil McDougall Lake, Como to provide habitat for breeding turtles,” Alice said. Alice was part of a 16 member team of kids and MK Mentors who helped out this week as part of Millennium Kids – Kids in the Community activities.

” We heard that turtles lay eggs in the sand and that predators in the area can dig up and eat the eggs. We didn’t know that foxes can be a problem!”

The team cleaned up the area and also did a bird count. At the next Millennium Kids meeting at the City of South Perth the Millennium Kids will meet with Environmental Officer, Julie Ophel to see what else they can do to help.

Thanks to the City of South Perth for providing plants and assistance on the day.


New Homes Birds

Monday, September 9th, 2013


At a number of our workshops and forums, Millennium Kids has heard from bird expert, Simon Cherriman that with the clearing of land many birds do not have enough natural habitat to shelter them from predators. To help make up for that Simon offered to show MK members how to make bird boxes for local bird species.

On 25 August Simon Cherriman, Gill Basnett and Cathy Levett led a team of MK Sustainability Ambassadors in bird box building at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Rehabilitaion Centre. They built several nest boxes, one of which was installed at Kaarakin on the day.

Simon has alreay installed a nest box in the hills near his home.

“We installed a  nest box less than a month ago in bushland adjoining Mundaring Primary School . On September 3, we discovered it has a female Wood Duck sitting on her clutch of 11 eggs, which should hatch in the next couple of weeks. When they are ready to leave, tiny claws on the newly hatched ducklings’ feet allow them to climb up the steep sides of this box (about a 1 m climb), then leap to freedom, floating to the ground (which is still a hairy 15 m drop!).


Thanks to the City of South Perth for funding this project.

Birds in the Bush – a Citizen Science Survey

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Bird Survey at Fraser Range

The first trick to fully appreciating the wonder of birds is to learn how to spot them through a pair of binoculars! Having mastered the technique, a group of five Year 10 students from John Paul College in Kalgoorlie took on the challenge of undertaking area bird surveys for Birdlife Australia, during a Millennium Kids Project Explore Expedition camp in the Great Western Woodlands. Led by Simon Cherriman and Gill Basnett, the team eased themselves up an embankment overlooking some sewage ponds west of Coolgardie – our first site. Sounds like a gross place to start but in fact the permanent water attracts a lot of bird life. Here, armed with binoculars and notebooks the kids learned to identify a number of ducks, grebes, teal, swans and even a Black-fronted Dotterel hiding camouflaged against the sandy bank.

The second trick is an early start… Birds are most active early in the morning. So after getting the kids up for an early(ish) start, the next site we tackled was a little ephemeral (seasonal) creek at Peak Charles. The windy weather kept many birds tucked away, but the kids were able to get a look at Inland Thornbills, Silvereye, Grey Fantails and even a White-fronted Honeyeater building a nest. The odd thing the kids noticed about this nest was that the birds had used toilet paper! Many birds build nests out of suitable materials abundant in their area, and unfortunately in the bush around the campsite toilet paper was easy to find.

The third trick is to be quiet and move slowly through the bush. Survey site three was a beautiful Salmon Gum Woodland with large old gum trees, not seen in any? other areas of our trip. Here our little band of birdwatchers split into two groups, surveying half the area each and compiling the list at the end. This was the first place we observed Rufous Treecreepers sneaking up the tree trunks, and Regent Parrots feeding in the canopy. Purple-crowned Lorikeets zoomed over our heads so fast we did not get a good look, but their call gave them away. A little pair of Striated Pardalotes was nesting in a knothole high in a large Salmon Gum and a Little Black Cormorant was standing guard over the dam. This was our best morning for species diversity with 13 different birds identified.

The information gathered by the kids will be provided to Birdlife Australia and used to increase our understanding of the wildlife using the Great Western Woodlands. This includes where different species are found and whether this changes throughout the year and over time. Well done team!


By Gill Basnett Scientist MK Project Explore Expedition

A Pond That Turned Into a Puddle

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Fabulous Sustainability Ambassadors from Beckenham Primary School

Twenty young sustainability leaders from Beckenham Primary School met at the Canning River Regional Park to learn about biodiversity, habitats and what makes frogs tick! The students spent the day with Millennium Kids, WA Museum staff, Hayley from CREEC and artist Angela Rossen.

Blindfolded, the students were led across the Kent Street Weir into the habitat beyond the recreational space. Students listened to the sounds – the birds, the running water, the rush of air as a duck flew very close by, cyclists on their bikes and sounds of feet on a steel bridge. The students heard stories of long ago, of their Beeliar people, of Mundi and Yagan and campfires – of hunting and fresh water and the stories of yonga, waagyl and cooya, the frog.

A man, walking along the path, let us know that he had seen a Tiger Snake further up the track. A great opportunity to stop and lie on the grass and play – imagine being a snake coming out of hybernation – imagine being hungry looking for food and warmth. I imagine the passers by were pretty keen to know why ten children were rolling around on their bellies seeking warmth on the footpath!

After looking at frog habitats and hearing their calls,  drawing and painting scientifically, testing for macroinvertebrates, wandering along the banks of the river checking out the erosion the students took their new experiences back to their school. There day will be written up and produced as a book to inspire others to get out of the classroom and into nature.


Thanks to the WA Museum and  the Alcoa Foundation for the opportunity to work with you on this great project.

Curtin Primary School Helps Create Habitat for Long Necked Turtle

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Curtin Primary School joined in the fun at Gillon Street on Friday 6th July to help plant hundreds of small shrubs in the wetland area in Karawarra. ‘It was amazing”, one boy said.”We got to go outside and work in the environment. I love the environment.”

The students saw lots of birds in the wetland and asked lots of questions about how they could help the site. Their teacher was very excited about the opportunity to get more involved in learning about the area and doing workshops at the site which is just across the road from their school.

” This fits really well with Science and Society and the Environment”. she said.

At the end of the session the students were rewarded as a tiny long necked turtle hatchling came out across the footpath on its way to the wetland. The students stood back as MK CEO Catrina – Luz Aniere showed them just how tiny it was by measuring her hand against the length of the turtle. The students were in awe.

” This is why we need to help the environment”, the boy said.” We need to replant this area because it was all bush once and we changed it so we could have houses. Now we need to look after the area.”

Tiny long necked turtle hatchling makes it to wetland

The students will come back in Term 3 to officially adopt the site.

Simon Cherriman and Eagles

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Simon Cherriman is a bird specialist who came to the Millennium Kids special meeting at UWA at the Centre for Water Research on the 12th of April. He came to the Millennium Kids meeting because he works with the Millennium Kids and he has been interested in birds since he was six. His favourite bird by far has to be the wedge tailed eagle. Its diet consists of a wide variety of mammals, birds and reptiles. Their favourite things to eat are rabbits and when in a group they can eat a fully grown kangaroo.

In the 1950’s humans shot eagles because farmers thought they were eating/ killing their lambs so people shot about 2000 a year in WA. Now they are protected but are still shot illegally.

Everyone at the meeting didn’t know that much about eagles so it was a surprise that there was so much to learn about the eagles. Simon even showed us what he used to do when he was young by climbing a tree to show us a bird’s nest.

By Euan 11, Ila 10,  Reef 10 and  Jordyn 10.

Great Western Woodlands – Burra Rock Conservation Park – What kids think!

Monday, November 21st, 2011

MK Goes Batty – For Bats!

Sunday, April 10th, 2011
Joe Tonga teaches MK members how to find bats using sound equipment

MK COSP Ambassadors spent Friday evening checking out bat habitat near the Canning River in the City of South Perth. Joe Tonga, a bat expert, explained a little bit about bat habitat and bat habits and then with bat sound equipment we went in search of Southern Forest Bats. 

 A Report By COSP Ambassador Sophie!

On the 8 of April 2011, a group of Millennium Kids went on a ‘Bat Stalk’ in Waterford. They went to Bodkin Park where Joe Tonga came and talked to all of us about bats. We all had a great time searching and learning about bats.

Joe was very informative providing us with the following information. Bats are born the size of a jellybean with the name of a pup. They will live for around twenty years. Bats like to move homes every week, unless they have had a pup. If they have had a pup they will stay in the same home for most of the year. Bats will only have one baby a year unless it has twins. Bats like to live in old, moist and warm places. Bats come out at around 7:30pm to look for their favourite meal, mosquitos. They fly on top of footpaths because they know that is where mosquitos like to hang out at night. When bats get tired they hide under bark on a tree. The new yellow light’s that the council is putting in does not seem to attract insects. Insects are only attracted to white light, so when bats go looking for insects, they can’t find them and the bats are dying. Bats also need to look out for snakes that pounce out and eat them. Snakes aren’t the only thing that eats bats, mice and rats also like the taste of bats.

That’s a lot of information that Joe told us. We had a ball! I am sure we would gladly go on another bat stalk anyday.