Specially constructed enclosures for turtles and blue-tongued lizards are among the latest features in the Garden’s educational area.
The expanded education area is aimed at pre-schoolers and school-aged children to help broaden their experience of native wildlife and the natural environment.
The Bluetongue lizard enclosure was constructed almost entirely from recycled materials to house lizards comfortably outdoors during the warmer months. It also allows children to meet the lizards up close in their comfortable new enclosure.
The Garden’s turtles now have a large outdoor pond refurbished with fresh landscaping and a sturdy fence. The pond was planted with aquatic plants, reeds and water lilies for habitat and also to boost food items such as tadpoles and insects.
Above-ground dipnetting ponds have been created from agricultural water tanks that can be used year-round for children to catch aquatic creatures. So far they have been colonised naturally by tadpoles and invertebrates such as backswimmers and pond skaters. The ponds provide a safe way for children to reach the water, allowing them to look closely without falling in and are accessible to wheelchairs.
Other features of the Garden that have received a facelift include the demonstration organic garden with garden beds featuring fruit trees and native food plants. An enclosed area of natural bush is also being established as a venue for the upcoming bush preschool and a nature play program named Nippers in Nature which will be launched in October.
Mayor Jennifer Anderson said the Garden was being progressively improved to enhance visitors’ experience. “This is part of the wider plan to establish the St Ives Wildflower Garden precinct as a destination in its own right for daytime visitors.”
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