Fauna (animals)

The Mysterious World of Eels video

This recording of an ARI seminar features Uncle Denis Rose and Dr Wayne Koster presenting on their partnership in eel migration research.  It shares the importance of eels (both culturally and ecologically) and what we’ve learned through satellite tracking.

The video runs for 1hr and is suitable for older viewers as a rare chance to dive deeper into the mysterious world of eels.

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Fauna (animals), Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

The impact of animal poo on our waterways

This article (and video) explains the impact animal poo has on our waterways and makes some interesting  comparisons between the impact of native animal poo and exotic animal poo.  The article is quite detailed but information can be extracted for younger students.  The video is short and simple.

  • Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio, Water Science,
  • All Regions,

Nature-scrolling activity

A nature scroll is simply a long, narrow piece of paper used to record your responses to nature, in words and pictures.  It can be a portable, bite-sized alternative to nature journalling and a wonderful way for your students to engage with their local environment or make observations whilst at your adopted water testing site.  Make it scientific, make it artistic or both !

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Water Science,
  • All Regions,

Platypus and Litter fact sheet

A simple fact sheet highlighting the horrific facts about litter and platypus and the good news of how we can help.

  • Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

Why do mass fish deaths occur ? videos

Between December 2018 and January 2019, three mass fish death events happened along a 40km stretch of the Lower Darling River, downstream of Menindee Lakes.  Although this event occurred far from us in Victoria it was a highly public and very distressing event for everyone, seeing up to a million fish including 100-year-old Murray cod die in one of the biggest environmental catastrophes to hit the river.

The video linked to the title above and this one here help students understand the issues around what happened.  Note: views expressed are the opinion of the video producers not River Detectives or any participating CMA.  And a warning that some scenes could be distressing for students.

 

  • Catchments, Fauna (animals), Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Linking the Landscape – The Cobaw Biolink video

This video by Newham Landcare promotes the important role of the Cobaw Biolink in enhancing the connections between Mount Macedon and the Cobaw Range on both private and public land. Protecting existing high quality vegetation and creating connectivity in the biolink will help native plants and animals adapt to climate change.

The video aims to engage the community and make them aware that their contribution, no matter how big or small, can have a positive impact on the environment on a landscape scale, making catchments and waterways healthier and everything that relies on them.

  • Catchments, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • North Central CMA, Melbourne Water,

Bird Quizzes

Your students will love exploring these three bird quizzes on Birdlife Australia’s Aussie Bird Count website;

  • Fauna (animals), Game, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Digital story; If We Care We Can: A Story of How One Glider Helped Save a Forest

‘If We Care We Can’ is a digital children’s story which is freely available online.  It is reasonably long, 60 pages, but turn on the audio and it’s perfect to watch/listen to as a serial over several days.  It is set in the forests of northern NSW but has many relevant messages for Victorian students.
‘If We Care We Can’ tells the story of Acacia, a Squirrel Glider, who is rescued as a tiny joey and raised by human wildlife carers. When she is released into the wild she travels to a nearby forest, meeting and learning about native plants and animals, and how important the forest is to them. She overhears humans talking about plans to log the forest and, by collaborating with animals and humans alike, the forest is saved.

This story is best viewed on a tablet or computer in landscape view.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

2021 Environmental/Cultural Celebration Dates

Schools and the community are invited to recognise and celebrate significant environmental / cultural days each year; some are regional, some national and some international.  Many of these days tie in perfectly with the ethos of the River Detectives program and provide valuable opportunities to broaden and deepen environmental learning, explore curriculum links, make meaningful connections with other organisations and community groups and encourage your students to advocate on a range of environmental and cultural issues.

Check out this calendar (embedded with loads of links) and go wild !!

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), General, Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Easter Basket

While Easter is not an Aboriginal celebration, eggs were a big part of customary life and looking at how Aboriginal people used eggs is a great perspective for all age groups at Easter time.

The protocols around egg gathering took into consideration the sustainability of the species producing them. Eggs were respected as a source of life as well as nourishment for mob. Eggs would be collected in vessels weaved by Aboriginal women from the naturally available reeds and materials of the local area.

This Easter printable features the artwork of Darug Artist, Chloe Webb.

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

What’s In Your Habitat ? activity sheet

Use this simple template to challenge students to sit quietly outside and record what they see, hear and smell using words/sketches.

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), General, Lower Primary, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

Nature Journalling activity

Be inspired by these images of nature journals and start recording the things you see, hear, touch and smell at your local waterway or anywhere in nature.  Sit for a while and observe, notice the small things and hone into colours, sounds, textures, shapes and movement.  Sketch, note or photograph your discoveries.  Journal throughout a year and record the seasonal changes you observe.

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), General, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Water Science,
  • All Regions,

Brolga Bangarra Dance Theatre video

The brolga is a majestic bird of Victoria’s wetlands and has long been held as an important totem in traditional life.  Watch a video of brolga’s visiting Tang Tang Swamp or a video about the birth of a brolga in central Victoria then enjoy watching the way the Bangarra Dance Theatre represents brolgas through dance.

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Budj Bim eel trap system video

Budj Bim is a dormant volcano in South Western Victoria on Gunditjmara Country.

Budj Bim means High Head in the language of Gunditjmara people and is home to one of oldest aquaculture systems in the world. Budj Bim is said to have erupted over 30,000 years ago and the lava flow that resulted created a system of channels that Gunditjmara people developed into weirs, dams and traps for fish and eels.

Older students may wish to find out more about the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Budj Bim National Park by watching this 30 minute virtual tour presented by the Glenelg Hopkins CMA for the 2020 Victorian Nature Festival.

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Fauna (animals), Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Virtual Electrofishing Tour video

Join Arthur Rylah Institute scientists for an electrified virtual field experience. Fishing with electricity (electrofishing) helps us learn more about fish, their habitat and how we can protect them. Arthur Rylah Institute work right around Victoria to surveys rivers, streams and creeks for all kinds of fish.

This is one video in a series of incredible 360°perspective, virtual reality (VR) films. The films create virtual, first-hand experiences bringing science and the work of scientists to life.  Although these films are best experienced using a VR headset, they are available online (viewing quality will vary depending on your internet connectivity). When viewing on your computer, use your mouse to hover over the video and look around or click on the arrows that are in the upper left-hand corner.

Arrows will help guide you to key features of the video we don’t want you to miss, but remember, your time in the field is your own, and you can always revisit and explore other parts of the video.

Visit here for other videos in the series.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Virtual Turtle Trapping in the Barmah-Millewa Forest video

Join DELWP scientists for an immersive field experience trapping for turtles in the Barmah-Millewa Forest  on the Murray River. They’re monitoring the health of turtles to better understand how we can reverse the population decline of turtles in the area.

This is one video in a series of incredible 360°perspective, virtual reality (VR) films. The films create virtual, first-hand experiences bringing science and the work of scientists to life.  Although these films are best experienced using a VR headset, they are available online (viewing quality will vary depending on your internet connectivity). When viewing on your computer, use your mouse to hover over the video and look around or click on the arrows that are in the upper left-hand corner.

Arrows will help guide you to key features of the video we don’t want you to miss, but remember, your time in the field is your own, and you can always revisit and explore other parts of the video.

Visit here for other videos in the series.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

The artistry and ingenuity of bird nests video

Whilst visiting your waterway each month for water quality testing you might notice the building and use of bird nests as a key seasonal change.  Bird nests are endlessly fascinating and we can learn much about the skill, patience, resilience, artistry and ingenuity of birds by learning about the way they build and use nests.

Although this is an American video it is a great resource to showcase the many different types of nests that birds build around the world.  There are also some great picture story books about bird nests; Bird Builds A Nest by Martin Jenkins, Birds Build Nests by Yvonne Winer and Mama Built A Little Nest by Jennifer Ward.

Watch this video of nest building up close or challenge students to gather materials and try building their own nest – it’s harder than they might think !

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Seasonal Calendars

Aboriginal people traditionally lived by seasonal calendars not dictated by the conventions of summer, autumn, winter and spring but by the changes they observed in nature throughout a year.

This is one example of a Kulin Nation seasonal calendar.  You might be able to source one that is more specific to the traditional owners of your area ?

Click here for an outline of the Wotjobaluk seasonal calendar for the Wimmera-Mallee area or view another version at the Visit Grampians website.

Click here to watch a video about Dja Dja Wurrung seasons.

Keep observations of your waterway and local catchment throughout a year with your students and make your own text or pictorial calendar inspired by a traditional seasonal version or this riparian/agricultural example from the North Central CMA. . . . .or combine the two !

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Catchments, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions, North Central CMA, Wimmera CMA,

The Wing Thing bird booklets

Print off one of four Wing Thing bird booklets packed with facts and activities for upper primary students;

Shorebirds       Woodland Birds       Beach Nesting Birds      Threatened Mallee Birds

  • Estuaries, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary,

Bird-inspired fashion

If you were a bird, which one would you be ?  Why ?

Choose your favourite bird or the bird that represents you best due to it’s personality, appearance or behaviour.  Study its colours and find items with matching colours in your wardrobe to represent its colourful plumage and be a ‘bird’ for a day.

A great idea for National Bird Week in October or for good fun anytime.

 

  • Fauna (animals), Game, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Website,

Bird Call Bingo

Use this bingo sheet and play respective calls from the Victorian Fauna Field Guide App in random order to see who can match calls to the pictures best.

Make your own bingo sheet of favourite birds in your local area.

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

Backyard Bird Bingo

A very simple activity sheet to involve young students in an assessing their school, waterway, home, etc for not only birds but the qualities of good bird habitat; plants and prey.

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Teacher,
  • All Regions,

Nest Boxes for Wildlife

Use this website for all you need to know about nest boxes; nest box designs, installation tips and monitoring methods.

Making and monitoring nest boxes is a great project for students and a fantastic way to enhance habitat at your waterway, school, home, local park, etc.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Website,
  • All Regions,

Platypus in Peril video

This video from our friends in the Upper Murray area explores the challenges platypus populations are facing and outlines the practical things that can be done to help.

Features Geoff Williams from the Australian Platypus Conservancy.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Backyard Birds of Victoria

This great resource can be used as a identification chart for students to begin their birdwatching adventures and the second page is an excellent fact sheet with tips on bringing back birdlife to our parks, homes and gardens.

  • Activity Sheet, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

Melbourne Water Platypus Program

This short video provides some great information about the physical features of the unique platypus, their diet, habitat, threats, what is being done to help them and what we can all do to contribute.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Bird colouring sheets

Birds can be thought of as ‘nature’s flying rainbows’.  Colour these fact sheets or use them to inspire your own drawings and make a bird mobile or bird bunting to decorate your classroom, bedroom or garden:  galah, pelican, rainbow bee-eater, red-capped parrot, star finch, variegated fairy-wren.

  • Activity Sheet, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

Edithvale-Seaford Wetland video series

These six educational videos focus on the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands in the Melbourne Water area, exploring their fauna and flora, rich history, role in providing drainage, and the community groups who play a key role in caring for them.

Get a well-rounded understanding of the wetland’s many diverse roles, by watching the full video series: Animals of the wetland    Birds of the wetland      Drainage story of the wetland

Friends of the wetlands    History of the wetland     Plants of the wetland

  • Aboriginal Cultures, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Urban Water, Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • Melbourne Water,

Animals of the Wetland video

Learn how wetlands support a variety of wildlife — including birds, reptiles, frogs, fish and bugs — which are all part of a complex food web.

Filmed at the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands in the Melbourne Water area the content is true for most wetlands.

This is one of six educational wetlands videos featuring the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Surveying for platypus using eDNA video

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a non-invasive sampling technique that detects genetic material from a target species secreted into the surrounding environment (e.g. water).

During 2020 the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network conducted the Platypus Project aimed to address the lack of contemporary knowledge about platypus and blackfish populations by investigating the current distribution of platypus and blackfish throughout the upper Campaspe area of the North Central CMA region using eDNA.

Senior ecologist and platypus expert Dr Josh Griffiths from EnviroDNA led the project and provided the technical knowledge and advice to Citizen Scientists participating in this Project.  Here he tells us all about it in a fascinating 14 minute video perfect for older students.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Why waterbirds don’t get soggy video

A great video from the Deep Look youtube channel looking at the waterproof qualities of feathers.

Ducks and geese spend a lot of time preening their feathers. This obsessive grooming – and a little styling wax from a hidden spot on their back side – maintains the microscopic feather structure that keeps them warm and dry in chilly waters.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Cutting the Carp video

Find out why European carp fish are called ‘river rabbits’ in Australia. Listen to how they came to Australia and what makes them such a pest now.

Discover how a local entrepreneur is exploiting the new resource while scientists are doing their best to cap the carp population explosion.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Backyard Buddies website

If you are looking to find out more about the native fauna and flora at your waterway, home, school, etc this website is a great place to start.

Explore‘ your own piece of wilderness by reading profiles about native birds, bugs/insects, mammals, frogs, reptiles and some plant families.

Get busy with a project and ‘Create‘ buddy habitats for birds, bugs/insects, mammals, frogs, reptiles and plants.

Use the tips to ‘Help‘ a backyard buddy.

  • Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Website,
  • All Regions,

The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay picture story book

This picture story book by Narelle Oliver is perfect for understanding how animals, in this case birds, have evolved over time to possess bodies that are just right for finding and eating their favourite foods.  The birds in this watery environment all compete for the title of the ‘best beak’ but discover that they all have the best beak for their own needs.

Use this book as a springboard to studying the adaptions of animals to survive – the ‘feathery friends’ activity is a small way to start with younger students.

  • Activity Sheet, Estuaries, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Frogs of the Wimmera slideshow

This very informative powerpoint presentation was put together by the Wimmera CMA as a PD for River Detectives educators in that region during 2020.

It is full of information, graphics and useful links for teachers to brush up their own skills and arm themselves with content and resources to teach students about frogs.

  • Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Teacher, Video/Audio,
  • Wimmera CMA,

Fern Hames the Fish Lady video

Fern Hames, Murray Darling Basin Authority Native Fish Strategy Co-Ordinator for Victoria, explains that because of the change of river flows, human water usage and the introduction of non-native fish species, there has been a 90% reduction of native fish numbers since the 1860 Burke and Wills expedition passed this area.

A short engaging video with some great facts about native fish; Silver Perch and Murray Cod; and introduced fish; Carp and Weather Loaches.

  • Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Garden Habitats for Small Aussie Birds

This video highlights suitable plants for three groups of small Australian birds; small honeyeaters, small insect-eaters and small seed-eaters. Boosting bird habitat at home, at school, at your River Detectives test site or in your local community is a great project to help our native feathered friends.  You may even be able to attract grant funding !

  • Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Aussie Backyard Bird Scavenger Hunt activity

Use this ID sheet to enjoy the fun of birdwatching on your own, with others, anywhere, anytime.  This simple sheet can be an introduction to more birding fun using the BirdData app to complete seasonal bird surveys or by participating in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count in October each year.

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

Aussie Backyard Bird Count App

BirdLife Australia has created the Aussie Backyard Bird Count app for participation in Australia’s nationwide bird survey. For one week each year near the end of October, as part of National Bird Week, thousands of people get to know their local birds and help Birdlife Australia discover how our birds are getting on. It only takes 20 minutes in your backyard, neighbourhood park, or favourite green patch to be a part of this exciting event.

You can use the Field Guide year round to learn more about your feathered friends.

  • App, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Aussie Backyard Bird Count

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is an annual citizen-science event held in National Bird Week (October).  It is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard no matter where your backyard happens to be — a suburban backyard, a local park, a patch of forest, down by the beach, or the main street of town.

You can use the App  to do as many 20-minute surveys as you like over the week with the data collected assisting BirdLife Australia understand more about the birds that live where people live.

Use the lesson plans to explore birdwatching at school.

Check out an infographic of the 2020 results for some great maths stats.

  • All, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Website,
  • All Regions,

Discover Ducks

Did you know that Australia is home to 15 native duck species? Yet five in six Victorians can’t name a single one! The ‘Discover Ducks’ website wants to change this and build a nation of duck lovers who are passionate and knowledgeable about our native ducks.

Head to this website to; learn about iconic Victorian duck species, learn how to care for ducks, use the duck detector guide to go duck spotting, use the duck detector map to find out where ducks have been spotted or add your own sighting, challenge yourself to the ‘know your ducks quiz’ or complete a fun survey to discover which duck you are.

  • Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Game, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Website,
  • All Regions,

How beetles breathe under water video

A great video from the Deep Look youtube channel analysing the adaptions beetles have developed to survive and thrive in their aquatic environments.

Students will love this peek into the amazing world of water beetles.  Check out Deep Look on youtube for other fascinating videos about the lives of terrestrial bugs.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio, Water bugs,
  • All Regions,

Water Striders up close video

A great video from the Deep Look youtube channel analysing the various ways that water striders have evolved to become expert hunters of their aquatic prey.

Students will love this peek into the amazing world of water striders.  Check out Deep Look on youtube for other fascinating videos about the lives of terrestrial bugs.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio, Water bugs,
  • All Regions,

Water Spider v Water Strider video

A great video from the Monster Bug Wars youtube channel showcasing the unique adaptions of water striders and how they would match up in a battle against a water spider.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio, Water bugs,
  • All Regions,

On The River picture story book

This book is a delight for all ages from the creator of the bestselling At the Beach series.

Follow the mighty Murray River from its smallest beginnings in the mountains to where it meets the sea on an epic journey with Roland Harvey and his pelican friend, in this glorious picture book full of humorous, intricate illustrations and fascinating information.

Together they discover the story of the river: its secrets, history, ecology, people and animals. And you’re invited, too!

There are no online versions of this book but a hard copy can be ordered at your favourite book store.  Teacher’s notes are available along with a worksheet for younger readers.

  • Activity Sheet, All, Catchments, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Wilam: A Birrarung Story

Wilam: A Birrarung Story is written by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy.  It tells the Indigenous and geographical story of Melbourne’s Yarra River, from its source to its mouth, from its pre-history to the present day and includes words from the Woiwurrung language.

There are no online versions of this book but a hard copy can be ordered at your favourite book store.

Comprehensive cross-curricular teacher’s notes are a wonderful guide to implementing this beautiful book in the classroom.

  • Aboriginal Cultures, All, Estuaries, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Water cycles, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Wetland Illustration

This illustration can be printed at A3 size to outline the important values of wetlands and highlight the factors that threaten their health.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

“Rivertime” picture story book

Rivertime by Trace Balla follows the adventures of Clancy who goes on a paddling adventure down the Glenelg River in the Wimmera CMA region with his bird-watching uncle.  It is a story about slowing down (‘rivertime’), growing up and connecting with the land and its creatures.  It’s also a fantastic launching pad for doing some birdwatching at your waterwatch site.

There are no online versions of this book but a hard copy can be ordered at your favourite book store.  The story can be read as a class but is best enjoyed by individuals to read and reflect at their own pace, pore over the detailed illustrations and enjoy every comic-style speech bubble.

Teacher Notes provide suggested activities for middle/upper primary students or use this Rivertime-inspired pocket birdwatching guide by Trace Balla to inspire your students to make a guide for your area !

  • Estuaries, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Story Book/Photo, Teacher, Upper Primary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Environmental Water in Northern Victoria

Many of Victoria’s rivers and wetlands have been modified to provide water vital for farms, homes and industry.  Water for the environment also benefits communities by improving conditions for fishing, camping and canoeing. Improved water quality can have economic benefits for irrigation and urban water supply.

This map shows how water for the environment will help improve and protect plants and animals in northern Victoria in 2020-21 but is of interest to all regions.

  • Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Secondary, Map, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Importance of the Ground Storey

This resource developed by Goulburn-Broken CMA highlights the importance of ground storey to native fauna and catchments.  Ground storey is the layer of leaf litter and woody debris found on the ground and is often misunderstood as a mess or fire risk that must be cleaned up.

This guide with stunning nature photography can be used as a series of fact sheets for teacher background or student research.

  • Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Richardson River’s Journey posters

These two posters are an excellent resource for staff and students to familiarise themselves with the Richardson River – it’s;  source, path, reaches, catchment, major towns, history, most notable features, flora, fauna and users.  The engaging format, stunning photos and user-friendly text makes it the perfect tool for teacher background, student-lead research and learning about an important waterway in the north central region.

  • All, Catchments, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Re-snagging posters

These two posters are invaluable to explain the importance of in-stream woody habitat to native fish and explains some of the important work that is taking place in the lower Loddon River and the Little Murray River as part of the north central CMA’s native fish recovery plan.  Features include great photos, fact files, information and an excellent diagram outlining the threats and values in a waterway that impact on fish health.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Coliban River’s Journey poster

This poster is an excellent resource for staff and students to familiarise themselves with the Coliban River – it’s;  source, path, catchment, major towns, history, most notable features, flora, fauna and users.  The engaging format, stunning photos and user-friendly text makes it the perfect tool for teacher background, student-lead research and learning about an important waterway in the north central region.

  • All, Catchments, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Water Birds of the Loddon River poster

This is a wonderful poster showcasing six of the most important native water bird species of the Loddon River.  It features a map of the Loddon River and its catchment and fact files on six water bird species outlining; appearance, size, life cycle, habitat, diet, breeding, behaviour, calls and conservation status.

Use the Natureblitz App to listen to calls and record sightings.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Frogs of the Loddon River poster

This is a wonderful poster showcasing six of the most important native frog species of the Loddon River.  It features a map of the Loddon River and its catchment and fact files on six frog species outlining; appearance, size, life cycle, habitat, diet, breeding, behaviour, calls and conservation status.

Use the Natureblitz App to listen to frog calls and record sightings.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Fish of the Loddon River poster

This is a wonderful poster showcasing six of the most important native fish species of the Loddon River.  It features a map of the Loddon River and its catchment and fact files on six fish species outlining; appearance, size, life cycle, habitat, diet, breeding, behaviour and conservation status.

Use the Natureblitz App to record sightings.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Avoca River’s Journey posters

These three posters are an excellent resource for staff and students to familiarise themselves with the Avoca River – it’s;  source, path, reaches, catchment, major towns, history, most notable features, flora, fauna and users.  The engaging format, stunning photos and user-friendly text makes it the perfect tool for teacher background, student-lead research and learning about an important waterway in the north central region.

  • All, Catchments, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Loddon River’s Journey posters

These three posters are an excellent resource for staff and students to familiarise themselves with the Loddon River – it’s;  source, path, reaches, catchment, major towns, history, most notable features, flora, fauna and users.  The engaging format, stunning photos and user-friendly text makes it the perfect tool for teacher background, student-lead research and learning about an important waterway in the north central region.

  • All, Catchments, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Campaspe River’s Journey posters

These two posters are an excellent resource for staff and students to familiarise themselves with the Campaspe River – it’s;  source, path, reaches, catchment, major towns, most notable features, flora, fauna and users.  The engaging format, stunning photos and user-friendly text makes it the perfect tool for teacher background, student-lead research and learning about an important waterway in the north central region.

  • All, Catchments, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

Waterbirds Field Guide of the North Central region

This guide produced by North Central Waterwatch includes fact files on waterbird species; description, distribution, diet, calls, breeding, habitat and conservation status. Beautiful photos make it a great asset for birdwatching at any waterway.

  • All, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • North Central CMA,

Fish Need Trees poster

This beautiful graphic illustrates the variety of ways that fish use trees in and beside waterways and why it’s essential we retain and replace them.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Fish Need Healthy Rivers poster

This is a great poster highlighting the features of waterways that fish require for food, shelter, breeding and migration, from source to mouth.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Poster, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Golden Perch Profile

Find out about Golden Perch and their distribution across northern Victorian waterways.

  • All, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • North East CMA, North Central CMA,

Murray Cod Profile

Find out about Murray Cod and their distribution across northern Victorian waterways.

  • All, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • North East CMA, North Central CMA,

Finding Hope – Wimmera Platypus Surveys

The Wimmera CMA take you behind the scenes of their MacKenzie River platypus surveys in the Grampians. This footage was filmed during their 2019 autumn surveys.  In the spring of that year they returned and filmed more beautiful footage of a male platypus.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

World Wetlands Day – A Wimmera Wetland video

To celebrate World Wetlands Day 2020 the Wimmera CMA zoomed in on Dock Lake near Horsham that received water for the first time in two decades in 2016.

They recorded the great diversity and abundance of waterbirds that flocked to the lake, showing how adding water to wetlands can trigger a huge response from nature.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • Wimmera CMA,

The Wimmera – A Flowing Fish Tale video

This video produced by Wimmera CMA is a great example for all regions of how a healthy river that strikes the balance between the needs of plants, animals and people can build a vibrant community.

It shows that strategies ensuring healthy fish populations boosts the enjoyment of the river by local and visiting anglers and sends the message that if you look after the river, it will look after you.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary, Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Barwon River Planting Day video

Over 40 local recreational anglers braved wet and windy conditions in July 2019 to help revegetate the Barwon River. Thousands of native trees, shrubs and grasses were planted on the banks of the lower Barwon River near Marshall, south of Geelong, to return a one kilometre stretch of the river to its original woodland habitat.

This is a great example of working together to improve fish habitat.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • Corangamite CMA,

iNaturalist Citizen Science App Instructions

Instructions on how to download and use the iNaturalist app, developed by Corangamite CMA.

  • All, App, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants),
  • All Regions,

PlatypusSpot Citizen Science App Instructions

Instructions on how to download and use the PlatypusSpot app, developed by Corangamite CMA.

  • All, App, Fauna (animals),
  • All Regions,

FrogID Citizen Science App Instructions

Instructions on how to download and use the FrogID app, developed by Corangamite CMA.

  • All, App, Fauna (animals),
  • All Regions,

‘Birds in Backyards’ seasonal bird survey program

Get involved in seasonal bird surveys with Birdata, Birdlife Australia’s easy-to-use website and app.  Both resources automatically give you a list of 30 birds from your region to help get you started – so you don’t need to be an expert to take part.

Use this video to learn how to get started using the Birdata website to enter your results or, if you are a maths maniac, browse, filter, graph, analyse and compare bird data from anywhere in Australia.

The App is a portable conservation tool allowing volunteers to leap into the colourful world of birdwatching and enter bird survey data via phones or tablets.

You can also get involved in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count in October each year, a nationwide citizen-science event.

 

  • All, App, Fauna (animals), Teacher, Video/Audio, Website,
  • All Regions,

Wild Pollinator website

The Wild Pollinator Count gives you an opportunity to contribute to wild pollinator insect conservation in Australia. Twice a year (April and November) the community is invited to count wild pollinators in the local environment and help build a database on wild pollinator activity.

You can join in by watching any flowering plant for just ten minutes sometime in the count weeks.

  • You don’t need to be an insect expert.
  • You don’t need fancy gear.
  • You may be surprised by what you see!
  • All, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Teacher, Website,
  • All Regions,

Victorian Fauna Field Guide App

Explore Victoria’s unique and diverse wildlife at home or in the great outdoors with Museums Victoria’s free Field Guide app.

Available for both Apple and Android devices, the app holds descriptions of over 950 species, including birds, mammals, fishes, reptiles, frogs and invertebrates from terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments.  Bird and frog calls, where held, can also be played for enjoyment and identification.

  • All, App, Fauna (animals),
  • All Regions,

NatureBlitz App

The North Central CMA’s NatureBlitz app is a free citizen science monitoring tool that allows the community to collect important information about our region’s biodiversity and specifically about aquatic fauna in and around our waterways.

NatureBlitz provides a description of 124 species; a small fraction of the complete field guide of Victorian fauna. It is a great tool for students to use as field guide for identification (with maps, photos, information and calls) or to record sightings to contribute to regional data about the health of our waterways.

** NOTE; unfortunately the App no longer supports iphone platforms.

  • All, App, Fauna (animals),
  • North Central CMA,

Frogs Field Guide of the North Central region

This guide produced by North Central Waterwatch includes fact files on frog species; description, calls, breeding, eggs, tadpoles, habitat and conservation status. It also clearly explains the different types of pupils, toes and eggs that can assist with frog identification.

  • All, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet,
  • North Central CMA,

Fish Field Guide of the North Central region

This guide produced by North Central Waterwatch includes fact files on fish species; description, breeding, fins, eggs, habitat, diet and conservation status including threats. A map showing the fish species approximate distribution in the North Central CMA region and a breeding cycle calendar is also provided for each species, along with a photo or two. It contains simple information to assist with identifying a fish.

  • All, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet,
  • North Central CMA,

Growling Grass Frog story

This resource from NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is a colouring book and treasure hunt focused on the Southern Bell Frog (we call it the Growling Grass Frog in Victoria).  It is a beautifully detailed keepsake for students looking at the habitat, life cycle, diet, call, appearance of the Growling Grass Frog and its place in the ecosystem of wetland life.

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Puzzling Platypus activity sheet

Read some facts about the diet of a platypus then complete the maze from Melbourne Water to help the platypus return to her nest and babies in the creek bank.  Perhaps students could calculate 25% of their own body weight and work out what foods they could eat to satisfy that quantity each day ?

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

The Frog Lifecycle

A simple worksheet from Melbourne Water to review the stages of a frog’s lifecycle.  Great to use as a reading comprehension activity.

  • Activity Sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Teacher, Upper Primary,
  • All Regions,

Birth of the Brolga

Rare footage of a pair of brolga incubating and rearing two chicks highlights the need for a plan to deliver environmental water to wetlands.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Video/Audio,
  • All Regions,

Frogs at McDonalds Swamp and Wirra-Lo

Delight at the sound of the frog chorus in two of north central Victoria’s wetlands.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Video/Audio,
  • North Central CMA,

Cohuna Fish Screens

This engaging animation clearly explains the problems that irrigation channels can cause for native fish and how fish screens are proving to be an effective solution.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Gunbower Forest bird breeding event video

This short video shows how environmental watering programs can make a difference to the health and reproduction of water birds.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • North Central CMA,

How Wolves Change Rivers video

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable changes occurred.  Although this is an American example, this video is a powerful example of how everything in nature is inextricably linked and one change can cause a ripple effect, in this case called a ‘trophic cascade’.

  • All, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Mosquito Madness

The unit provides 5 lesson plans to allow students to understand the life cycle of mosquitoes, specifically their morphogenesis and the way the organism changes appearance throughout its lifetime. Other key topics include mosquito habitats, ecology and environmental impacts on the mosquito population.

  • Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Water bugs,
  • All Regions,

Wetlands Habitat Activity Booklet

The resource contains six engaging activities for primary students to develop awareness around wetlands, wetland habitats and the importance of wetlands in our world.

  • Estuaries, Fauna (animals), Guide/Activity booklet, Lower Primary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Waterways,
  • All Regions,

Platypus colouring sheet

Use Melbourne Water’s beautiful image of the platypus as a mindful colouring activity.

  • Activity Sheet, All, Fauna (animals),
  • All Regions,

Carp Fact Sheet

Find out about this introduced fish species and how carp impact on our waterways

  • All, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals),
  • All Regions,

Our platypus – information brochure (posters)

This brochure developed by Melbourne Water is useful for any region with great information presented in a very clear format that could be used as posters for the classroom.

  • All, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Poster,
  • All Regions,

Creating a frog friendly habitat

Find out all about how to create a frog friendly habitat

  • All, Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Primary, Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Primary, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Controlling carp fact sheet

Find out all about the National Carp Control Plan – informative and interesting!

  • Fact sheet, Fauna (animals), Lower Secondary, Teacher, Upper Secondary,
  • All Regions,

Growling Grass Frog colouring sheet

Alternatively you could use Melbourne Water’s Growling Grass Frog activity sheet where the colouring is set amid some facts about the specie.

  • Activity Sheet, All, Fauna (animals),
  • All Regions,

Frog Life Cycle colouring sheet

  • Activity Sheet, All, Fauna (animals),
  • All Regions,

Frogs colouring sheet

  • Activity Sheet, All, Fauna (animals),
  • All Regions,

Nine days on Tang Tang Swamp

A beautiful and breathtaking secret insight into life on a drying waterhole at a public wetland located in north central Victoria

  • All, Fauna (animals), Video/Audio, Waterways,
  • All Regions,