As part of the Stage 1 Biology unit: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, all Stage 1 Biology students attended a full day excursion to Gorge Wildlife park. The aim of the excursion is to enhance teaching and learning of specific student outcomes in the current topic, with a focus on keystone species. Individually each student that chose to, got to cuddle a koala - these are one of our keystone species for the role that they play in keeping their habitat in balance. This was a challenge for some students to be this close to our native fauna and were somewhat spooked by the many birds that were roaming the park.
On the grassed area we had a keeper talk about Keystone species and their crucial role in the ecosystem with added benefits of getting up close to a python and a very friendly dingo pup. The dingo pup, Ernie, was much friendlier than the python and delighted in all of the attention. We then moved to the Cassowary enclosure to view the usually solitary birds who were enclosed together as part of the breeding program that is in place at Gorge Wildlife Park. Cassowary chicks, once hatched, are cared for by the male cassowary. These birds are endangered due to urbanisation of their natural habitat in Queensland and loss of territory and feeding grounds.
After lunch the students were free to roam the park and engaged with many of the other species that are on display. A very useful excursion to improve the students understanding of Keystone species and how our actions impact the species and the roles that they play.
Susan Warrior| Science Teacher, ATSI Co-ordinator R-12