Looking for little critters!
The weather forecast for Friday and in particular Saturday looked dismal and as we approached Friday morning and our FWC Steiner School session we wondered what we could expect, not only in terms of weather but the effect it might have on the availability of insects.
After the Year 5 and 6 students along with their teachers gathered, it was introductions, an explanation of Paul Horne and his work, and an outline of the mornings activities.
The group then headed off to walk to a revegetation site. A group photograph and then Paul explained what to do, and using a reversed leaf blower wetted the interest by collecting a few insects.
It was now time for the students carrying their insect containers, to head off and see what they could find.
Holes were poked, ground litter pulled to one side, loose bark peeled back. In no time Paul was being inundated with insects and questions about them. How to identify a female cricket? What spider was this? How do you know if its a beetle or the early stage of a flying insect? What are these skins from?
Plenty to ask and plenty to learn.
After an hour or so looking it was time to gather, talk about what had been found and what Paul planned to do with the information.
Thank you’s and then it was goodbye just as the rain clouds really started to develop.
Friday night was the downpour and Saturday started with a few rays of sunshine though the wind was blowing.
Registration was at the ‘The Stone Chimney’ entrance where there is a newly fenced area that will be part of our first revegetation project for 2022.
Once again introductions and Paul explained the process, before our very mixed group of participants, headed off to have look and see what they could find.
Caitlin and Jill had visited all the sites 2 weeks before these sessions and placed a few timber boards around. The intention being that some insects might take advantage of them and set up a temporary home. Of course just as everyone was about to set out the rain descended, though fortunately it did not last.
Having had a look at the pastured area the group gathered at the shearing shed and headed down to a natural amphitheatre by Thompsons Creek. This site was part of the 2016 Biolink project coordinated by SCIPN, and the growth was amazing. Everyone scattered to search anything that was small and moved that could fit into the sample containers.
Finally it was was back to the shearing shed for refreshments, tea/coffee/juice, and a chance to discover what everyone had found, and ask questions. Unfortunately insects do not like the wind so the number of species found was limited, though there were plenty of crickets!
Paul will now gather the details on the insects we found from all the sites and TDLG will prepare a information flier. This was phase one of what TDLG hopes will be a several phases and that we can revisit the sites and discover more species and numbers of insects as the new plantings and the old grow.
Thank you to the FWC Steiner School students and staff, Fiona and Brendon for the use of ‘The Stone Chimney’, Little Miss Merlot for the excellent spread, our very interested participants and of course Paul Horne.
Paul’s knowledge, enthusiasm and very quiet manner was certainly valued and appreciated by all.
Thank you to the Corangamite CMA and the Victorian State Government for your support of TDLG through the Victorian Landcare Grants – 2021
‘The small things within the big picture’