Kids connect with nature at Platypus and Waterbug Discovery Session

24th April 2024 | 

Landcare Tasmania hosted a school holiday event focused on platypus and waterbug discovery on Monday 15th April at Garden Island Creek. The aim of this sold-out event was to connect children and families with their local environment and active Landcare groups.

Image: Outluq Arden-Wong meeting the mysterious platypus. Photo credit - Michael Helman

Local children and families engaged in a hands-on exploration of the unique wildlife and water ecosystems of Tasmania. Participants took the opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of platypuses and waterbugs through various activities and presentations.

John Gooderham, a freshwater ecologist, and Simon Roberts from the Upper Houn Wildlife Monitoring Group led discussions and activities, shedding light on the behavior, habitat, and importance of platypuses in the local creek ecosystem.

Photo credit - Michael Helman

Children got the chance to embark on a waterbug identification adventure with John Gooderham, using the latest technology and tools to collect and identify local waterbugs. This interactive session fostered a deeper understanding of aquatic biodiversity and encouraged environmental stewardship among young participants.

“Children found out what types of waterbugs are on the menu for the platypus that live in Garden Island Creek. There were 20 different types of waterbugs found on the day,” said John Gooderham, Freshwater Ecologist at The Waterbug Company.

“Adding all these bugs together gave this bit of river an ecological health score of 6.2 ...which is high. It will be a green dot on the Waterbug Blitz maps.”

Furthermore, attendees learned practical ways to contribute to conservation efforts, such as adopting platypus monitoring sites and participating in local Landcare initiatives.

Photo credit - Michael Helman

"With 69 people in attendance, it was the largest Waterbug blitz event ever in Tasmania. It was a unique opportunity for children and families to connect with nature and learn about the incredible wildlife in their backyards," said Bianca Burford, Education Coordinator at Landcare Tasmania.

"Events like these not only educate but also inspire a new generation of environmental custodians."

Landcare Tasmania thanks John Gooderham and Simon Roberts for making the day fun and educational. We would also love to thank Local families for coming along and Friends of Garden Island Creek members for supporting us on the day.

The event is part of Landcare Tasmania's Education Program and was made possible through the generous support of the Huon Valley Council, the Friends of Garden Island Creek Landcare Group and the Department of Premier and Cabinet's Premier's Fund for Children and Young People.