Bush, Birds and Boxes – A Community Engagement Project

Funding Source: Victorian Government – Communities for Nature 2013 Small Grant

Timeline: January 2015 – March 2016

Funding received: $36,030


Project description

  • This projects engaged with the local community through workshops and working bees focusing on weed removal, revegetation using tubestock and nest box building, installation and monitoring.
  • Activities were focused on public land and roadside reserves in the proximity of the four local schools (Greta Valley Primary School, Moyhu Primary School, 15 Mile Creek School Camp, Myrrhee Primary School).
  • This project established a network of nest boxes and an ongoing monitoring program for each of the four local schools and supporting community, focusing on bats, possums (Sugar and Squirrel Gliders) and birds.


An inspection of each school ground was completed prior to workshops with the school principal. We discussed the native habitat available within the school grounds and the desirable types of plants that attract birds, bats and gliders (focus species for this project). Samples of weeds and native species within each school ground were collected and used in discussion with the children about how species can become invasive and the types of native species that we like to have in our gardens/on farms to attract wildlife. 20 nestboxes were installed through this project, although we frugally produced 40 nestboxes in total (for the budget of 20). The remaining 20 nestboxes have been allocated to a current Threatened Species project focusing on protection of scattered paddock trees.

Habitat gardens were established at five local schools – Oxley, Moyhu, Greta Valley and Myrrhee Primary schools and 15 Mile Creek Outdoor School. Plants were selected for each site based on known Ecological Vegetation Classes, but also with a knowledge of local soil and light conditions. Flowering and bird attracting species were also incorporated into the species selection. A total of 740 tubestock plants were planted in the school grounds, comprising predominantly of shrubs and fewer trees and native grasses.

A workshop was held with each school, which involved a nestbox construction session and a planting session. Children from Prep to Grade 6 were involved in both sessions. A total of six workshops were held with primary school age children across the five schools. We also talked to the four year old children at our local preschool about nest boxes, their role in our landscape and what animals use them.

We ran a nest box construction workshop with members of the Moyhu Mens Shed, to establish a program to produce nest boxes in kit form for the school groups and also in assembled form for sale to members.

The Group engaged a local nest box specialist to run a workshop focused on nest box design, construction and installation. This was useful in highlighting a number of shortcomings with our existing box design and to learn the practical tips for siting and installation methods.

Our group ran an afternoon nest box monitoring session, demonstrating the use of our recently purchased pole camera and infrared camera to members. We inspected nestboxes installed in our catchment through another project and were delighted to find Sugar Gliders nesting in two boxes. We also discussed the frequency and timing of monitoring and the establishment of a nest box database for the group for the future.