Digging for Dung Beetles - A Field Trip

On Wednesday 2nd March, students from Richmond Primary School got the opportunity to sift through some poo and discover the important role that dung beetles play for soil health and sustainable agriculture.

Image: Looking for gold... © Ben Mildren 

Two year four classes had a blast learning in this hands on, interactive field trip.  Our facilitator Andrew Doube was wrapped with the enthusiasm from the kids, and Richmond Primary sung great praise on the quality of the activities! 

"Andrew runs an incredible workshop and the kids couldn't resist a chance to play with poo and bugs. What makes it all so special is the value the kids get out of the experience - a chance to discover a real, unique connection to the ways we take care of our farms and the land we live on" said Landcare Tasmania's Ben Mildren. 

The kids also got to witness the fun and learn the benefits of rotational grazing by moving the herds sheep and cattle.  Next up, they were on the hunt for some dung (and the beetles hiding there!). 

As the students were crouching down in the field checking out the sub soils full of eggs, larvae and beetles, Andrew urged them to look out at the expansive valley and imagine all the critters below.  "It was a highlight to watch their brains click at that moment" said Andrew. 

The kids collected dung and found lots of beetles hiding there.  They checked out the beetles closely, learning about identification - and even put their observation skills to the test by making beetle sculptures. 

Much fun was had learning about the life cycle of dung beetles by acting it out! Eating dung, learning to fly, laying eggs... 

This interactive session got the kids thinking about the connections of the beetles to the livestock and the soil, and their importance for vibrant soil health. 

Image: Examining the specimens! © Ben Mildren 

This event follows up on dung beetle surveys on four farms in the Coal River Valley this year. The surveys found healthy populations of two dung beetle species - getting lots of dung buried and playing their part as 'ecosystem engineers'. 

The surveys and this field trip are part of Landcare Tasmania's Landscape Restoration Project in the Coal River Valley funded through the State Government’s Landcare Action Grants and supported by the JM Roberts Charitable Trust.

Read More  

🔍Read the story in The Mercury. 

🔍Dung Beetle Surveys - What we found 

🔍Dung Beetles and Regenerative Agriculture 

🔍Searching for the Bubas Bison 

🔍Dung Beetle Introduction Program 

🔍Dung Beetle Care in Tasmania (PDF)


Photos thanks to © Ben Mildren 

Image: Beetles learning to fly... © Ben Mildren 

This excursion our Landscape Restoration Program, which aims to bring together several members working on common issues, to gain a greater long-term benefit at a landscape scale. It also connects to our Outreach Program which aims to increase capacity for Landcarers so that all our land and coasts can be cared for by the community. Funded by: the State Government’s Landcare Action Grants and supported by the JM Roberts Charitable Trust.