Kids Helping Cockies Project
The ‘Kids Helping Cockies’ project was established in 2012 with the aim of educating and engaging local schools in habitat propagation and restoration activities for the endangered South-eastern Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo.
Funded through the BirdLife Australia, SA NRM Community Grants Program, Australian Geographic, and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. The project has involved in-class presentation to over 2700 students from 32 schools about Red-tails, and the establishment of nine ongoing school nursery programs to grow and plant out stringybark seedlings for localised habitat revegetation projects for the cockatoo.
School nursery programs have been established at Naracoorte South Primary School, Naracoorte Primary School, Glenburnie Primary School, Newbery Park Primary School, Lucindale Area School, Nangwarry Primary School, Allendale East Area School, Tenison Woods College and St Anthony’s College. Other schools have been involved in growing food trees for Red-tails including Melaleuca Park Primary School and Kalangadoo Primary School. Frances Primary School has also recently committed to the nursery program, bringing the total number of schools supported over the duration of the project to twelve.
Schools participating in the ‘Kids helping Cockies’ nursery program have been supported by staff to:
1. Prepare grant applications for funding nursery development
2. Establish/set-up nurseries for growing stringybarks which include propagation tables, watering systems, tubes, trays and potting mix;
3. Collect and propagate stringybark seed; and
4. Care for and plant out grown seedlings/tube-stock.
BirdLife project staff have continued to provide guidance and training to teachers on propagation, care and maintenance of seedlings and revegetation techniques.
The project has generated a lot of interest and has proved to be a great way to educate and engage students in conservation activities for the cockatoo. Power-point presentations to students and teachers have helped to increase awareness and understanding of Red-tails, their habitat and the actions taken to improve habitat conditions for the species. Furthermore, explanations and involvement in activities (i.e. seed collection and planting) has helped students to make connections between stringybark trees and the survival of the cockatoos.
The project has provided a great hands-on conservation experience for students enabling them to be directly involved in helping to increase the extent of stringybark habitat and provide a future food source for the cockatoo. Not only does this provide benefits for Red-tails, but for many other native woodland bird and mammal species that occupy these habitats.
SE Red-Tailed Black-Cockatoo Recovery Project Coordinator
Front page image: Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo by David Stowe, shortlisted Australian Photographer of the year 2018
Planting and kids images by Bronwyn Perryman