Above Alice Miller School students will use their scholarship to establish a pollinator patch on their 32-hectate bush campus at Macedon.
The Environmental Youth Action Scholarship award is a new category for 2021 to support a youth or school group to design and deliver a project that will help improve Victoria’s natural environment. Mentors will support the group to prepare and design the project.
The Alice Miller School at Macedon is planning to use its scholarship to run a youth-led pollinator patches program with Year 9 and 10 students, designed to create habitat for indigenous pollinators. Habitat loss, combined with chemical use, introduced species, and climate change has seen a severe reduction in the number and diversity of native pollinators.
The program will be run as part of the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network’s (UCLN) project to create pollinator corridors in the catchment by connecting patches of vegetation of various scale so indigenous pollinators can move through the landscape and disperse more efficiently. Pollinator corridors are designed for native species including bees, insects, butterflies, moths, birds, and bats and other small mammals that pollinate plants and keep local ecosystems running.
Alice Miller School students will design and plant a series of pollinator patches at the school. The patches will consist of one canopy species, 10 mid-storey species and up to 50 understorey species. The aim is that many schools may ultimately participate in the program, which will create a series of connected biologically and ecologically diverse habitats and food sources for pollinators.
The program at Alice Miller School will be youth-led, with students developing monitoring protocols and breaking into smaller groups to adopt a pollinator species to research. The students will create videos and articles on indigenous pollinators and their unique relationships with the plants they favour, to be shared virtually with other schools within the Campaspe catchment.
Students will keep a virtual visual diary of the program, with reporting on project design, management and delivery carried out on a rotational basis. Rebekah Ritchie, Landcare Facilitator for UCLN, will work with Alice Miller School teachers as the project mentor. The students will share their resources through the UCLN’s website and will also work with their local Landcare groups.
Rebekah Ritchie is excited to be working with young people on an environmental challenge that will become increasingly obvious over the next decade.
“These students will learn first-hand about the important, and often overlooked work of indigenous pollinators, and their unique relationships with the ecosystems that they rely on and that rely on them,” Rebekah said.
Wyndham Central College