The incredible work of school students protecting nature and biodiversity across the Margaret River region will be on display this week at Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s annual Our Patch presentation.

Our Patch involves more than 200 Year 6 students from seven schools across the Capes region, and tomorrow’s presentation is the culmination of a year’s worth of work. They have investigated the health of their local catchment, assessed the threats and have come up with innovative solutions to help care for their patch, along with important messages for the community.

The exciting nature-based learning culminates on Thursday, September 14 when each class will present their project and solutions at Nala Bardip Mia (the Margaret River HEART) for the annual Our Patch presentation day, following a Welcome to Country from cultural custodian Zac Webb.

Cowaramup Primary School students learned about endangered Carnaby’s, Baudin’s and Forest Red-tailed cockatoos and are playing a role in their conservation by building, installing and monitoring nest boxes in local bushland.

“Normally black cockatoos would nest in tree hollows but because we’ve lost so many mature trees in the South-West, nesting boxes can provide critical nesting sites for these threatened birds,” Our Patch officer Peta Lierich says. “If we do nothing, we could lose all three black cockatoo species within two decades. But the students’ work is having far-reaching engagement with the local community and inspiring the next generation to feel they can have a real-world impact.”

Meanwhile, Augusta Primary School students have rallied to the aid of Western Ringtail possums. They investigated ringtail habitat in their school bushland, observed possum nesting and behaviour, and came up with solutions to protect and enhance the habitat. That included identifying and removing weeds, replacing them with local native species, and building and installing possum boxes for the animals to use.

Augusta student Kayla Challis said she “loved planting peppermint trees and learning about where possums live and how to make a safe possum home”. Year 5/6 teacher Rona O’Brien described the Our Patch program as “fun, engaging, hands-on” learning that taught students “how to assess their local area and the simple steps they can take to make an impact”.

Our Patch officer Lauren Scanlon said each class project is making a real difference. “Working with local people who are passionate about connecting with and protecting our environment really inspires the children to get involved and make a difference,” she says. “The students have been working so hard and we can’t wait to see what they’ve each school group have come up with, and hear their important messages for the community.”

Our Patch depends on local experts volunteering their time to share their passions with the next generation, as well as generous funding from Lions Club of Cowaramup, Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Margaret River Rotary, the Paskeville Foundation and local schools.