The annual Cowaramup Primary School excursion to Grace Farm was another great day out and a special opportunity to open the property to the community. The biological diversity in the forest and creek system, which surrounds and dissects the vineyard, offers a unique outdoor experience for the Year 3 science class.
The day begins with a trip to the creek where the excited kids scoop the surface of the water with fine nets looking for aquatic fauna in the shallows. Their interest grows as the nets reveal the types of organisms which inhabit healthy water ways. The presence of tadpoles, insect larvae and juvenile marron reveal a world beyond the muddy banks. With clipboards and pencils in hand our budding scientists record their observations for the classroom.
Leaving the creek we journey to a special habitat full of trigger plants, ground hugging orchids and clumps of grass trees. This sandy site is home to a unique predator, the New Holland sandplain scorpion which lives in cryptic burrows beneath the surface. Small plastic cups, dug in below the burrow entrances make perfect pit traps as the scorpions emerge at night to search for prey. This part of the day is always a highlight when the kids get to see a creature that first appeared 200 million years before the dinosaurs. What a day out!
Finally, the excursion moves from ecology to agriculture as we emerge from the sandplain vegetation and walk into the vineyard. The clipboards appear again as the kids explore the vineyard floor and learn about wine grape growing. A number of students proudly announce that their parents work in vineyards as they share their knowledge of trellis and tractors.
Once again it was a pleasure to host the Cowaramup Primary School at Grace Farm and we look forward to the next instalment.
Words by Tim Quinlan, ViticulturistWe received a wonderful email from Tracey Muir, the Education Officer for the Cape to Cape Catchments Group that we'd like to share: