Coromandel Valley Primary School

YELP Case Study - Bringing back bandicoots

How did a group of Year 5 students spearhead a bandicoot research project with leading ecologists and City Council? It was thanks to their participation in Green Adelaide’s Youth Environmental Leaders Program (YELP), explained Sarah Todd, Coromandel Valley Primary School’s science teacher.

Through YELP, Green Adelaide Educators support primary schools to plan and implement hands-on environmental projects that improve the sustainability of their campuses and communities. They learn valuable team skills, access resources and are linked to experts.

The students chose Frank Smith Park as their project location because it was close by and somewhere “they wanted to make a change”, Sarah said. Lucas, one of the YELP members, had also seen a bandicoot there when he was walking in the area and this elusive marsupial became the students’ focus. Through this project, Lucas explains he has learned about how we save bandicoots and habitats. “We need to be more careful about what we do to the environment”, he says.

A Green Adelaide Educator supported them to develop their project, which includes revegetation and habitat restoration. She also linked them up with one of Green Adelaide’s ecologists, Dr Elisa Sparrow, to provide expert advice on how to look for and monitor the fledgling population.

Sarah explains that YELP students are really enjoying the responsibility. “It’s motivating them and giving them an outlet for their environmental passion”, she says. She adds that it encourages them to step out of their comfort zone and a lot of them are excited to share their knowledge. As such, they’ve created a puppet show that will travel around the classrooms. They are also spreading the message to the wider community at Nature by Night at Frank Smith Park, part of the Nature Festival in October.

For bandicoots to really have a go at making the reserve their home, the whole community will need to get behind the project as dogs, feral cats and litter can be a big problem for their safety.

The ‘Bringing back the bandicoots to Frank Smith’ project is being implemented in partnership between Coromandel Valley Primary School, Green Adelaide, the City of Onkaparinga and the local community.

To find out more about Green Adelaide’s Youth Environmental Leaders Program (YELP), contact the team.