Frog Hollows gives rare amphibian a fighting chance

Students at Wentworth Point Public School have been busy building a safe environment for the endangered golden bell frog.

Students and teachers planting grass near a pond. Students and teachers planting grass near a pond.
Image: Wentworth Point Public School students plant grass at Frog Hollows.

Wentworth Point Public School is giving an endangered frog species a chance to thrive.

Once common in eastern NSW, the native green and golden bell frog is now a protected species due to loss of habitat and disease.

Relieving Assistant Principal, Rachael Preston, said the Frog Hollows project was co-funded by the Sustainable Schools Grant and a contribution from the school.

“The students were ecstatic when they found out about the grant and that the pond would be built at school,” she said.

“It was one of the greatest moments to announce they would be able to participate in planting. To hear the children cheer from excitement, high fiving each other and clapping was a proud moment.”

The project aims to create an outdoor learning space accessible across all stages from Kindergarten to Year 6 to teach students about sustainability, biodiversity, the life cycle of native plants, insects and animals.  

During the design and planning stages, students participated in excursions and incursions, connecting with experts and their local environment. 

Learning experiences included weekly walking trips to the Parramatta River, the Brickpits and the nearby Blaxland Park.

Consultation with ecologists and Aboriginal Elders provided students with advice about how to successfully build the frog pond.

Ms Preston said listening to the children’s showcases were a project highlight.

“Walking around the room listening to all the children presenting their prototypes showed us how deeply they understood the topic beyond the classroom,” she said.

“It was one of those moments where you think ‘this is why I do this’.

“You could hear the excitement, passion and extensive knowledge the children had about the geography of our local area, how it has changed over time due to settlement, what species are endangered and why.

“They were also using their understanding of persuasive language to present a speech to an unfamiliar audience. It was a huge accomplishment for students who are primarily from a language background other than English.”

The school is now planning to create an outdoor learning space for students.

Wentworth Point Public also has a vegetable garden to encourage reduction of waste using recycled materials for garden beds.

The Sustainable Schools Grants program offered NSW public schools and preschools up to $15,000 for student-led initiatives to improve their environment.

In the past four years, the program has supported more than 600 schools to develop hands-on sustainability learning activities.

Students and parents with cardboard models. Students and parents with cardboard models.
Image: Wentworth Point Public School students share their frog pond designs with members of the community.
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