Students help to grow food trees for Red-tails.

Students from Tenison Woods College in Mount Gambier have been involved in a small-scale habitat propagation project to grow food trees for the endangered South-eastern Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo.

Last term, Year 3 students and teachers from Tenison Woods College were introduced to the colourful world of Red-tails through a short presentation about the ecology and conservation needs of this nationally endangered black cockatoo. Surprisingly, the kids were very ‘in touch’ with the concerns for and needs of this regionally iconic species and what could be done to aid their recovery, including the importance of re-creating critical feeding habitat.

Using the Kalangadoo Primary School Red-tail propagation and restoration project as a model, Year 3 students and teachers were given the opportunity to participate in a small-scale propagation project to germinate and later on plant-out food trees to help restore important feeding habitat for Red-tails.

On the 9th November 2012, around 35 Year 3 students helped to plant locally collected stringybark seed into propagation trays, which were then transferred to the school’s ‘community garden’ to be grown and maintained. Between 500 and 1000 Red-tail food trees are expected to germinate as a result of the students work. Seedlings germinated will then be transferred to tubes and planted out next winter in various locations in the lower south-east of South Australia.
Over the coming months, the Red-tail Recovery Project will continue to work with Tension Woods College teachers to obtain a grant to establish a school nursery/propagation area within the existing community garden. This will enable students to continue to grow food trees each year for existing and new habitat restoration projects for Red-tails within South Australia.

Apart from growing much needed food for Red-tails, this project provides a fun and interactive way for students to learn and gain an appreciation for not only Red-tails and their habitat, but for conservation as a whole.

If your school is interested in learning more about Red-tails or would like to be involved in a similar project please feel free to contact the Project Coordinator, Bronwyn Perryman, on 1800 262 062 or by emailing

Previous page: Links