Day 172

Grade 6 Green, Lansdowne Crescent Primary School Photo: Landsdowne Crescent Primary School.
Photo: Landsdowne Crescent Primary School

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Explore your corner: Knocklofty Reserve

Read this report about Knocklofty Reserve, prepared by Grade 6 Green from Lansdowne Crescent Primary School as part of our “Explore Your Corner” unit.

Overview

Knocklofty is a big dry sclerophyll forest. The land is hilly and rugged and the soil is dry and not very rich. Some words to describe Knocklofty are rocky, dry, rugged, dusty and bushy. Some animals that live there are possums, wallabies, ants, kookaburras, spiders, crows, tawny frogmouths, caterpillars, ladybugs, tiger snakes, bats, owls, magpies, butterflies, frogs, pacific black ducks, blue tongue lizards, eastern spotted quolls, skinks, jack jumpers, sugar ants, swift parrots, spotted marsh frogs, pink robins and the eastern barred bandicoot. The major types of rocks in Knocklofty are dolerite and sandstone. Knocklofty is elevated above West Hobart. It is a very steep hill and takes around 10 minutes to climb up from our school, Lansdowne Crescent Primary School. Up there you can see great views of Hobart through clearings of trees and lookouts.

By Opi, Anders, Augie, Oliver and Ollie

List of identified plants

At Knocklofty Reserve we found a whirligig beetle and water mites in the reflection pond and these water bugs live in shallow waters beside grasses and plants. They both live in quite clean waters. A plant we also found is silver wattle and their scientific name is Acacia Dealbata. It is found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. It doesn’t just grow in Australia, but is also found in America, New Zealand and Africa.

Other plants found around Knocklofty include:

  • Acacia Dealbata – silver wattle
  • Caladenia Echidnachila – fawn spider orchid
  • Carex Appressa – tall sedge
  • Austrodanthonia Induta – tall wallaby grass
  • Acacia Melanoxylon – blackwood

By Sophie, Maggie, Gigi, Lucy

List of identified animals

  • Eastern Spotted Quoll (Dasyurus Viverrinus)
  • Eastern Barred Bandicoot (Perameles Gunnii)
  • Kookaburra (Dacelo Novaeguineae)
  • Pink Robin (Petroica Rodinogaster)
  • Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes Tasmaniensis)
  • Pacific Black Duck (Anas Superciliosa)
  • Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus Strigoides)
  • Tiger Snake (Notechis Scutatus)
  • Water Mite (Acarina)
  • Whirligig Beetle (Gyrinidae)

By Aidan, Finn, Will and Lily

List of non-living features

Watch the video Grade 6 Green prepared on Vimeo or YouTube to find out more.

Description of seasonal changes for this area

Each season the Pacific Black Duck travels around Australia. In droughts (which is usually in summer) the ducks would go looking for a new clean water source in their habitat. Their habitat is beside dense vegetation in long, tall grasses. A flock might die if there is no water sources nearby. The remaining ducks will travel to nearby water sources such as the Derwent River. In summer, ducks would stay in the water more to avoid the heat. In winter the ponds sometimes freeze, in that scenario ducks won’t go swimming but they can use their strong beaks to break through the ice and get a drink of water.

By Hunter, Jack, Zac, Angus and Kiran

The pink robin is one of Knocklofty many birds, it lives in the rain forests, then goes to more urban and dryer habitats like Knocklofty, for more warmth. They go to Knocklofty in the winter but most of the time they live in rainforests. They go to Knocklofty because the rain forests get to cold in the winter. The warmest months in Tasmania are December to March and the coldest months are June, July and August. The average temperatures are 4 degrees in winter and 23 degrees summer.

By Sophia, Ruby, Yani, Sam and Ruby

Historical and/or recent use

The name of the local Aboriginal First People of this area is Muwinina. Aboriginal tool makers preferred hard volcanic rocks that can hold an edge when it comes to grinding. That’s why dolerite, found at Knocklofty Reserve, it is used for grinding.

The Kookaburra’s name is derived from the Wiradjuri Aboriginal word guuguubarra, which copies the bird’s distinctive, laugh-like call.

The Aboriginal people were not known for hunting poisonous snakes as they favoured the non-venomous type. As a result it is incredibly hard to get bitten by a tiger snake as they usually hide from humans.

For medicine they roasted the silver wattle seeds and ate them before the summer to prevent hay fever.

By Hamish, Matthew, Wilbur, Massimo and Phoenix

Some plants and animals have adapted to the changes in their environment and most of the causes of changes are done by natural disasters. Bushfires, for example, have a massive effect on habitats. When these are destroyed, animals go hunting for food and places to nest, and this is becoming more common in Tasmania because we haven’t been taking care of the land like the Aboriginal people before us. When fire-stick farming was used by the Aboriginal people, it would not only take good care of the animals, but also lower the risk of fires happening. The Aboriginal people would burn off a small patch of grass and the ash would get mixed with the soil and that would add nutrients. This was called a ‘cool burn’. A fire needs fuelto burn, and fire-stick farming reduced fuel on the floor of the bush. A few days after fire-stick farming, new green shoots of grass would appear, giving the animals food. If Tasmania still did fire-stick farming, there would be less chance of massive fires happening.

By Sacha

List of web links to good research sites that were used

By Jonty, Lucas, Kevin, Harry, Claire

Future use

Knocklofty is so many things, a walking track, a reserve that protects native animals, a great spot to walk your dog and a popular place for the community to enjoy. Many animals inhabit this land but what is the future for these animals? The Hobart City Council and Friends of Knocklofty Bush Care Group protect the reserve. Lansdowne Crescent Primary School have a group called Land2Sea. They send groups of kids to learn and teach other kids and adults. The site was used for timber and sandstone was used for brick making. There are over 300 species of different native plants. Knocklofty is home to birds, reptiles, mammals and frogs. These include species such as the tiger snake, the kookaburra and the blue-tongue lizard. The main summit loop is 4 km. You can go bird watching with experts and listening for frogs at the frog ponds. The Friends of Knocklofty Group want to provide more food and safe habitat for endangered species. The reserve covers 140 hectares of native bushland. That’s our corner Knocklofty.

By Silas, Eric, Bella, Aidan and Neiko

Additional information

This year in grade 6, for our science inquiry, we have learnt about firestick farming, natural disasters, our selected species and adaptations. Some words we had to research were: ecosystem, ecology, diversity, biodiversity, bio, herbivores and sustainability. We had Trish Hodge and Craig from Nita Education, come to our school. They are both Aboriginal people and they shared with us the Aboriginal perspective of our species. At Knocklofty we split up into groups. One group found the scats of The Eastern Barred Bandicoot. The sclerophyll forest group found its leaves. The microgabro group found dolerite. The tawny frogmouth group saw two birds. The pink robin group found wasps which pink robins eat. The spotted marsh frog group found grass from its habitat. The microscopic arthropods group found a whirligig beetle, water mites and water mite eggs. The kookaburra group saw one, and the silver wattle group found many trees and took samples of the leaves.

As part of our science, we were to create posters on our species, working together in groups. We had to include: habitat, life-cycle, location, diet, threats to survival, Aboriginal perspective and their scientific classification, and of course, annotated diagrams.

Both grade 6 classes went on an excursion to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to see how animals behaved. Unfortunately, not all the animals we were hoping to study were there, although most groups found something related to their species. It was a very fun experience for everyone and many people took notes and even drew some of the animals.

Overall, we learned lots and it was an educating, yet fun inquiry for our whole grade.

By Indy, Saffy, Zali, Olive, Mia

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