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CLARENCE YOUTH DIG IN TO PROTECT NATIVE HABITATS

CLARENCE City Council and The Cottage School have dug in to improve the understory habitat for a protected bandicoot as part of National Tree Day – Australia’s largest community tree-planting and nature care event.

Held across the nation on Sunday 1 August, with the schools-specific event having taken place on 30 July, council lent its support to the community-minded students at the Cottage School in its mission to improve the habitat at Wentworth Park in Howrah, which is home to the Southern Brown Bandicoot.

Found in many reserves across Clarence, the Southern Brown Bandicoot is a protected native species, and while common in Tasmania, is endangered on mainland Australia.

It requires a dense ground cover of native tussock grasses, sedges and shrubs for shelter and nesting.

Clarence City Council Mayor Alderman Doug Chipman said council was proud to continue supporting schools and community groups in protecting the city’s important flora and fauna habitats.

“Clarence has significant areas of coastal and bushland reserves and it’s so great to see the community dig in to help protect and restore our native habitats, enhancing the work council is already doing in these spaces,” he said.

“Clarence is home to the protected Southern Brown Bandicoot and the efforts at Wentworth Park will help revitalise the native habitat and ensure that these wonderful animals can survive and thrive long into the future.

“I highly commend the students at Cottage School for taking the time to learn about the importance of endemic and threatened native species and do their part in protecting the environment.”

Clarence City Council has supported several school and community groups in its National Tree Day efforts this year through funding trees, planting supplies, and providing in-person support on the day.

The planting at Wentworth Park builds on the work already undertaken through Howrah Primary School’s Bandicoot Bunker program, which is delivered in partnership with Clarence City Council and the Acton Park Landcare Group, and aims to build natural habitats while educating children about being good custodians of nature and wildlife.

The Cottage School kinder teacher Stephanie Becker said the students cared greatly about the environment and local native animals.

She said her class had begun learning about nests and the impact human activity had on the habitats of native Tasmanian animals.

“Most recently, we explored the Southern Brown Bandicoot and learnt that without the protection of an understorey and low ground cover, bandicoots are vulnerable to predators,” she said.

“Participating in the Bandicoot Bunker Program and National Tree Day was a wonderful opportunity for our youngest children to make connections with the community while actively helping our bandicoot populations to flourish.”

Cottage School kindergarten student Oliver Aveling, aged five, said “the plants and bushes will help the bandicoots move safely around the park”, and Sparkles Hanson, aged five, said it would “help the bandicoots survive.”