An Adelaide school is working towards bringing biodiversity back by revegetating their local creek with the help of a Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant. Find out about the project and how you can apply.

Scotch College students and teacher planting
Scotch College students and teachers planting at the 'Live Well' site

Scotch College, located in the Adelaide foothills, is fortunate to have Brownhill Creek, one of nature's playgrounds at their doorstep...running through their school grounds in fact!

Brownhill Creek has a rich history and important cultural significance for Kaurna people, where it was once a favourite spot for camping, hunting and gathering.

It remains a valuable community asset today and wonderful place to visit with towering 300-year-old river red gums, and a narrow flowing creek with blue gums climbing the surrounding slopes.

The Brownhill Creek Reserve and surrounding areas support a small, threatened, ecosystem of grey box grassy woodland.

Scotch College Science Leader David Pace has been at the school for almost 7 years and is proud to be leading their revegetation efforts over the past few years as part of the school’s ‘Live Well’ program.

The creek line running through the school has been revegetated with aquatic and terrestrial species in recent years, and David decided it was time to extend their planting efforts into a nearby grey box grassy woodland site.

This was made possible through a Grassroots Grant. Read on to learn about David’s Grassroots Grant story:

Scotch college live well site
The Scotch College Live Well site in September 2021

Why is this grant project important?

Brownhill Creek is home to a threatened ecosystem of grey box grassy woodlands. Grey box trees have grey and white bark that form a flaky ‘box’ pattern on the lower trunk with small white flowers. A grey box grassy woodland consists mainly of grey box trees, with native grasses growing underneath.

Grey box grassy woodlands have been cleared over time to make way for farming and only cover around 3% of the area they once did. These woodlands are a valuable habitat for many native and threatened plants and animals.

David is aware of the connection between the grey box grassy woodland and the creek as a biodiversity (or wildlife) corridor. This provides a safe environment for wildlife to move between connected areas of habitat.

Southern Brown Bandicoot
A southern brown bandicoot. Photo: Martin Stokes

This project targets both aquatic and terrestrial native species, so planting, weeding and rehabilitation took place along the creek line and in the surrounding woodland.

For their rewilding and education efforts, the school has been targeting the mountain and climbing galaxias, Bibron's toadlet and the southern brown bandicoot.

It is also understood, that by building on the work of the project over the past few years, they hope to eventually encourage more small bush birds into the area such as the blue wrens and fairy wrens currently found nearby in the Brownhill Creek reserve.

By revegetating both the creek line and neighbouring woodland, they will create a wildlife corridor and a refuge for native birds.

Scotch student applying guard
Scotch student applying a tree guard with an education sticker attached to educate local community

How did the Grassroots Grant help?

In the past, the stretch of creek running through the school grounds had been stripped of native vegetation and the creek was seen as a problem for the school, a trap for litter and a home to long-lost balls.

The grant enabled the school to revegetate a 100 metre stretch of the creek within the school grounds, as well as a 300 square metre site of grassy grey box woodland habitat known as ‘The Scotch College Live Well Site’.

It also helped them to continue to build on years of amazing work to rehabilitate the site and enable their students to get their hands dirty while connecting with nature and learning about biodiversity.

Students educating others at ActionDay
Scotch students educating students from other schools at the Action Day

How did the project improve the environment for the community?

With a creek flowing directly through the school campus, it made sense for the students to incorporate it into their learning and there’s hope that it will spark an interest in nature and volunteering for the benefit of the environment.

David said that the hands-on activities have been wonderful for engaging students with learning difficulties or those who sometimes struggle to remain focussed in a classroom setting.

One of the more surprising impacts of the project, has been the effect it has had on the teaching staff at the school. David said they now have a greater appreciation for the creek and an understanding of the issues and the history of the area.

The entire school community has embraced this project and is supportive of seeing it continue for years to come.

Apply for the next round of Grassroots Grants

Green Adelaide’s Grassroots Grants is an annual program that puts much needed funds into the hands of individuals and groups to help them transform their local environment.

Round 3 of the Grassroots Grants is open now until 29 June 2022. To find out more and book a place at one of the grant writing workshops visit the grants webpage.

Subscribe to the Green Adelaide monthly newsletter for the latest on the grant program straight to your inbox.

Words of advice for future grant applicants

David encourages any school or students for that matter, with a great idea for a grassroots grant, to discuss it with the Green Adelaide grants team.

He said the grants program was an ideal way to kick-start any environmental project, and improve nature in their own backyard.

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