Parks Victoria Partnership Phascogale Program provides field-based learning to students

Parks Victoria Partners with Federation TAFE for Phascogale program.

Federation TAFE Certificate III and Diploma of Conservation and Ecosystem Management students have been involved in the Brush-tailed Phascogale monitoring program with Parks Victoria since 2003.

The program allows students to undertake field-based learning, participating in a long-term monitoring program investigating the population of a threatened species alongside Parks Victoria, DELWP and Dja Dja Wurrung.

The trapping program is undertaken in the Hepburn Regional Park and Wombat State Forest. TAFE teacher, Conservation and Ecosystem Management, Murray Norman said the program heavily involves the students input into all stages.

“Traps are placed in the Regional Park and Forest; students are involved in identifying and selecting an appropriate tree for the traps to be placed on. Once a suitable tree is selected the students bait the traps and then secure the trap to the tree,” Murray said.

The traps are left overnight and checked each day for an animal. If an animal is caught the students observe Parks Victoria process and record information on the animal of which are then safely released to the forest. On the final day of the program the traps are checked and then retrieved for cleaning.

“As the program involves placement and checking of 78 traps across the Regional Park and Forest, the inclusion of students and their human-power ensures that the traps can be set, checked and collected in a reasonable time,” Murray said.

Kyra Winduss, Ranger Team Leader Creswick, Park Victoria said: “We’ve been delighted to see so many healthy animals during the monitoring program this year, at a time when the phascogale’s habitat is highly fragmented and predation is a threat, it’s important to have these long-term monitoring programs”.

Students have the option of continuing their study into a Diploma of Conservation and Ecosystem Management offered at Federation University.

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