From the desk of Catherine, South Coast Enviro-Experiences. 

After watching the film “Cockatoo Crisis,” the Wellstead Primary School senior room students are taking action. The film highlighted that WA’s three species of south west black cockatoo are in trouble. The film maker, Ms Hammond has said; “We are losing birds to car strikes, illegal shooting, land clearing, pesticide poisoning, food shortages, nesting shortages and general habitat loss. Unless we change the way we manage their habitat we will lose these unique birds to extinction in less than 20 years.”

Wellstead Primary School teacher, Mr Rob Wright, was joined by the South Coast Enviro-Experiences team to devise a project to help protect our threatened cockatoos. The senior room students will grow some local food and habitat plants for the black cockatoos and then they will plant them out in Wellstead District in 2024. Students recently spent a day sowing native plant seed into pots. The seedlings will germinate and grow over summer and will be ready to plant out into a Carnaby cockatoo habitat revegetation project area next year. Local seed collector, Sylvia Leighton, joined the students to talk about the black cockatoos and provide local seed for planting. Some of the species the students sowed included; local Hakeas, the local marri, tallerack, apple mallee, bell fruited mallee, jarrah tree, blackbutt tree, native pine Callitris, the scarlet banksia, bull banksia’s and sheoaks.

The kids discussed their observations about the local black cockatoo populations. They agreed that grain trucks did not appear to be killing as many birds along the roads and highways due to improved tarping on the trucks minimising grain spillage. They agreed this was a good example of how everybody in the community can make small changes to the way they do things and this can make a big impact on looking after the cockatoos into the future. It was a fun day and it will be exciting to watch the different plants grow in their pots ready to be planted out in July next year.