Biodiversity education programs

Council offers a range of sustainability and biodiversity education sessions for schools, kindergartens and early learning centres to engage students on themes such as local habitat and fauna, waterway health, food webs and the environmental impacts of transport and food.

Classroom resources

A huge range of classroom resources are available on the topic of biodiversity across a variety of websites, here are a selection:

Zoos Victoria offer a range of educational resources and programs. Visit the Education page of the website for online resources including webinars, virtual excursions and teacher events and PD. Zoos Victoria also have a Facebook group called Teacher Tribe for teachers to share stories, ideas and reources with zoo staff and other teachers.

CERES has a range of online resources with sustainability activities available for use at school or at home covering a range of Victorian Curriculum areas including English, Mathematics, Design Technology, The Arts and Digital Technology.

Birdlife Australia has teaching resources available on the Birds in Backyards website including a comprehensive resource called Beaks, Feet and Feathers (PDF 1Mb) and also offers the Birds in Schools program.

Melbourne Water has a range of education resources for different levels and curriculum areas as well Waterwatch curriculum and activities and citizen science census programs. 

Merri Creek Management Committee has a Teacher's Water Education Manual available on their website.

Sustainability sessions

The following 6 sustainability sessions are delivered by CERES. There are 5 sessions available for primary schools, 2 of which are also suitable for secondary schools and 1 session available for pre-schools. A limited number of free sessions are available per school per year. 

Sessions run for 45 minutes and are available for a maximum of 30 students per session. A minimum booking of 2 x 45 minute sessions is required with a maximum booking of 4 x 45 minute sessions.

Please use the online booking form to book one of the following 6 sessions with CERES.

Farm to Fork - early years

Available for: Kinder 4 years+

In this session students will:

  • handle a real worm and learn how to make healthy soil;
  • plant a seed and watch it grow;
  • stretch out during seed Yoga to learn the life-cycle of a plant;
  • dress up as a buzzy bee and pollinate plants.

1. Plant a Seed

Learn about seeds and how they grow.
Available for: Foundation to Grade 2

In this session students will:

  • discover the life cycle of a plant, plant needs and seed discovery;
  • feel a variety of seeds on our touch table;
  • match seeds to mature plants found in the garden;
  • explore how plants are grown for food and plant a seed to take home;
  • learn the parts of a plant and how living things grow, change and create new life.

2. Sustainable transport

Discover how we can travel without needing fossil fuels.
Available for: Grade 3 to 6

In this session students will:

  • explore the methods of transport from the past and present;
  • model how petrol and electric engines work, and investigate their pros and cons;
  • design the ultimate transport-focused city, what it will look like and how it will work;
  • discover how transport shapes our communities and our lives.

3. Worms and Minibeast 

Learn about exciting ways to process organic waste.
Available for: Foundation to Grade 6

In this session students will:

  • explore the types of organic waste at school and home;
  • handle a real worm and learn about its role in the composting cycle;
  • hunt for minibeasts and learn about food webs and their importance to a healthy environment;
  • learn about the life cycle of food;
  • learn how to keep worm farms and compost heaps ‘healthy’.

4. Hands on Gardening

Learn the principles for maintaining a healthy garden and the importance of worms and minibeasts. Available for: Foundation to Year 10

In this session students will:

  • learn skills they can use to maintain and grow a thriving school kitchen garden;
  • get involved in constructing new outdoor spaces such as raised edible gardens, chook houses, rain gardens, fences, habitat houses, signage and revegetation areas;
  • explore how people create designed solutions and change environments for food production;
  • participate in seasonal activities, such as planting, composting, seed collecting, propagation, harvesting, fertilising, weeding and weed identification, watering, mulching, garden design and more.

5. Indigenous Plants and Bush tucker

Learn about the principles to maintain a healthy garden and the importance of worms and minibeasts. Available for: Foundation to Year 12

In this session students will:

  • be introduced to a variety of indigenous plants that can enhance your school garden biodiversity;
  • learn how to identify various indigenous plant species, and about their uses for food, drink, medicine, tools and building materials;
  • learn about the local seasons and how to identify them through ecological signals;
  • discuss indigenous origins of common food plants.

Waterways and biodiversity sessions

The following 20 incursions and excursions are available to Moreland schools, kindergartens and early learning centres. Sessions are delivered by Merri Creek Management Committee and run for an average of 45 minutes but can be tailored to suit, for a maximum of 30 students. A limited number of free sessions are available per school per year. 

To book one of the following 20 sessions please contact MCMC by email JuliaCirillo@mcmc.org.au or by calling 9380 8199.

Early Years

The following sessions are tailored for delivery to pre school students. 

1. Waterbug Discovery

In this activity students will explore: 

  • who is living in the creek;
  • adaptations that help waterbugs live in, on and around water;
  • how different types of waterbugs move;
  • waterbugs can tell us how healthy the creek is.

2. Learning Grounds – creating an indigenous garden

In this activity students will: 

  • learn about local biodiversity and establish Kinder gardens using local indigenous plants of the Merri Creek catchment;
  • be involved in developing master plans and garden concepts. 

3. Fascinating Frogs

In this sessions students will:

  • learn the calls of local frogs and play a game to try and remember them;
  • creating lifecycles and talking frogs;
  • visit wetlands to see where real frogs hang out or we can bring live frogs to your school.

4. Five Senses in the Field

In this session students will:

  • use the five senses to thoughtfully observe and explore habitat values in outdoor settings;
  • see tiny animals magnified;
  • regard the tree canopy from below using mirrors and consider the sound, smell and sensation of natural areas in a focussed way to stimulate appreciation and inquiry.

5. Crafty Creatures

In this session students will:

  • learn about creek life, consider the special adaptations of frogs and waterbugs and focus on features such as body shape;
  • use their observations to create similar creatures using a variety of natural and craft materials.
  • This activity works well with Waterbug discovery and Five senses in the field.

6. Indigenous cultural heritage 

In this session students will:

  • learn about the values of local plants for medicines that have long been recognised by indigenous people;
  • handle local grasses;
  • consider the traditions and heritage of the Wurundjeri-willam people such as making eel traps and baskets. 

7. Stormwater Story

Children take the roles of characters that live along Merri Creek in various parts of the landscape such as grasslands, farmed land and urban areas. Each character adds a different type of pollution (from grass clippings to oil) into a bowl of water representing the creek to see how human activity impacts water quality.

8. Kingfishers on Kids

In this session students will:

  • learn about the community’s role to restore indigenous habitat through environmental restoration;
  • consider the impact on animals such as Sacred Kingfishers who visit Merri Creek in spring after a long journey from Indonesia;
  • create a clip-on Kingfisher to take home.

9. Who’s still hiding? Story time with finger puppets.

Meet Duck, Rakali, Turtle and another special guest at the creek side in this engaging story aimed at Grade Prep and younger. Children will discuss which native animals live along Melbourne’s rivers, creeks and wetlands and how to identify them.

10. Catchment map

In the field or in the classroom our huge map of the Merri Creek catchment brings home many messages about the nature of a catchment and provides an instructive tool for discussions with children about the environment,  and animals that live on the Merri creek.

Primary to tertiary 

The following sessions have been developed for delivery to primary to tertiary aged students.

1. Waterwatch

Learn about and check the health of local waterways. 
Available for: Pre-school to tertiary level

In this session students will:

  • collect, group and identify pollution sensitive aquatic invertebrates (waterbugs);
  • use scientific equipment to investigate water quality - not all pollution can be seen.
  • This activity can be extended to data interpretation and long term monitoring.

2. Fascinating Frogs

Learn the calls of local frogs and play a game to try and remember them. 
Available for: Prep to tertiary level.

In this sessions students will:

  • creating lifecycles and talking frogs;
  • visit wetlands to see where real frogs hang out or we can bring live frogs to your school.

3. Litter clean ups and surveys

A great activity for Clean Up Australia Day, National Water Week or an addition to any waste or litter related program. 
Available for: prep to Year 9

In this session students will:

  • survey the types and amount of litter in your local waterway before removing it.
  • analyse the data collected from the litter survey which can be used in maths, science and a variety of other content.
  • This activity works well with other awareness raising activities such as drain stencilling and water testing.
  • All equipment, safety advice, site assessments and a presentation on water quality health are included. 

4. Drain stencilling and drain wanders

Locate drains that lead to your local creek on this educative walk and talk.
Available for: Prep to Year 9 

In this session students will:

  • learn about the impacts of urban stormwater pollution and how we can reduce its impact on our local biodiversity;
  • learn about microplastics, nutrients, turbidity, animal distribution and solutions to stormwater pollution.
  • conduct drain stencilling which involves students helping paint educative messages on stormwater pits to remind the local community "this drain leads to the waterway."
  • This activity can be the conclusion to an arts class where students can make their own stencils with local creek creatures.

5. Habitat and Fauna Surveys

Explore elements of a natural area, including waterways, and then score its health. 
Available for: Grade 3 to tertiary

In this session students will:

  • use a template to record observations about plants and animals (especially birds), weeds, litter, soil and water;
  • discuss their views on habitat health and propose ways to improve it.

6. Food Webs

During this interactive game participants take on the role of a plant or animal in the food web. 
Available for: Prep to Year 8

In this session students will:

  • discover what lives where and who eats what in the ecosystem;
  • find out what happens if something interrupts or is lost from the food web.  
  • learn about the impact of pollution and habitat relationships.

7. Stormwater Story

Available for: Prep to Year 8

Participants take the roles of characters that live along Merri Creek in various parts of the landscape such as grasslands, farmed land and urban areas. Each character adds a different type of pollution (from grass clippings to oil) into a bowl of water representing the creek to see how human activity impacts water quality.

8. The phosphate game

The focus in this interactive game is waterway eutrophication and how nutrients such as phosphate and ammonium get into our waterways and the impacts on local ecosystems.  

Available for: Grade 6 to Year 10

In this session students will:

  • consider the impact of nutrients on animals such as platypus, fish, frogs and aquatic birdlife.
  • conclude with conducting nutrient testing on a local waterway sample;
  • discuss the impacts on waterway health. 

9. Measuring maths in nature

Maths lessons extension in the field.

Available for: Grade 2 to Year 8 

In this session students will:

  • measure the velocity and volume of water flowing in your local creek;
  • count the amount of population and diversity of waterbugs to assess the health of your local creek;
  • survey the types and amount of litter or measure the height of a tree or how many leaves are on a tree.
  • There are many ways to incorporate maths in a fun, practical and engaging way within the local environment. All worksheets are provided.

 10. Catchment map

In the field or in the classroom our huge map of the Merri Creek catchment brings home many messages about the nature of a catchment and provides an instructive tool for discussions with students about the environment.