Mini Beasts Day at Birdsland


Sunday, April 21, 2013 - 11:00am to 3:00pm


Birdsland (Right off McNicol Road from Tecoma, after Kaola Str on Left)

A family day to celebrate and discover the wonderful biodiversity at Birdsland Reserve and Monbulk Creek, held annually in Autumn, now for the 2nd time following the highly successful event last year. Great opportunities for kids to experience this and get involved. 

Activities include:

  • Learn what lives in our creek
  • Become a citizen scientist and test the water
  • Go on a guided tour of the heritage orchard
  • Story tent for the littlies
  • Bird walk and talk by local bird expert
  • Games for all the family with the local scouts
  • Planting of native vegetation to help the platypus

Generously supported by Melbourne Water and Yarra Ranges Council

About the Festival Organisation

Food and Drinks available

Activities for Adults and Kids

Parking Limitations

New group, BeeGees, for kids to join and participate in monthly

Other groups for anyone to join

What you can learn at the festival

About the Festival Organisation

The festival is a partnership between the Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group, Yarra Ranges Council and Melbourne Water and celebrates our lovely Birdsland Reserve. Paul Hodgson, Waterwatch Co-ordinator from Melbourne Water, will have a great interactive display called the WaterSmart City model which shows exactly how water-saving measures in the home can impact on our creeks.  Paul and local Waterwatch volunteers will be demonstrating how we monitor water quality in Monbulk Creek at two sessions during the day.  Melbourne Water is also supplying two of their new interactive boards, one on frogs and the other on birds.  You can press the button and hear the calls they make – fantastic!

Food and Drinks available

The parents from Belgrave Pre-School are running a barbeque so you can buy your lunch – vegetarians are catered for, and we will have a very good coffee cart on site as well. 

Activities for Adults and Kids

  • We dress the kids up in lab coats, ties and glasses and they become biologists, carefully examining the mini-beasts from their water sample under magnifying glasses and a microscope attached to a monitor screen.  Everyone gets a turn and it’s terrific fun. 
  • There will be a talk on platypus.
  • Face-painting
  • Our lovely story tent will be there for the littlies to take a break if they get tired. 
  • You will learn about the mini-beasts that live in the soil with a very magical compost display and find out which animals make those weird noises in the night when you visit Roger Shaw’s nestbox display
  • We even have a camera on a pole with a wireless display for you to hold so you can see into the high nestboxes to make sure that no indian mynas or european wasps have kicked out the rosellas, bats or possums.
  • Andrew Van Vloten, a ranger from Lysterfield Lake Park will have a display of (stuffed) native birds and animals that kids can actually touch including a powerful owl and a platypus.  
  • Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery will be open too.
  • One of the best things on the day will be a lantern-making workshop with community artist, Glenn Scollyer and helpers.  Glenn is going to make a giant Sherbrooke amphipod lantern for the Belgrave Lantern Parade.   An amphipod is a shrimp-like mini-beast which lives in creeks in the Dandenongs and playpus find them very tasty.   He will also help kids create their own simple mini-beast lanterns which will go on display in Belgrave shops leading up to the parade in June.  We will supply the tuition and  materials, all the kids have to bring is a very clean and de-labelled 2 litre plastic milk or lemonade bottle.  We will have some spares for those who forget.
  • SDLG will have their education stall with lots of environmental information and have a mynah trap on display. 
  • So bring the family for a great day out in the fresh air. 

Parking Limitations

Car pool if you can because parking is limited to the picnic area except for those with disabilities.  There will be a parking warden in attendance on the day.

 New Group, BeeGees, for Kids to join and participate in monthly

Kids will be able to sign up for a new group at Birdsland – the BeeGees (the Birdsland Environment and Gardening Group).  Kids will meet once a month to learn about gardening and growing food plants; the local bushland, creek and its creatures; to go for walks – some at night and do art and craft activities.   The group will be run by local mother, community nursery volunteer and horticulture student, Kerry Furnell with help from environmental volunteers.   

Other groups for anyone to join

We also hope to establish another platypus monitoring group at Birdsland and a nestbox monitoring group as well.

What you can learn at the Festival

Learn about the fascinating and complex bio-diversity of Monbulk Creek and how some very simple changes they can make at home can make a big difference to the health of the creek. 

Water Capture at Home

Stormwater run-off causes huge damage to our creeks and the creatures dependent on it in many ways.  The large amounts of water that pour from our roofs, driveways and roads dump pollutants, nutrients, litter and silt straight into our creeks, sweeping away the creekside vegetation in which insects such as dragonflies and beetles live.  Birds and frogs go hungry.  The silt suffocates the larvae of other insects and crustaceans so fish, yabbies and platypus go hungry.   And so it goes, all the way along the food chain. Installing a water tank or creating a rain garden or swale (frogbog) can really halt the flow of stormwater run-off which can benefit you and the environment. 

Water Quality and the MiniBeasts that Love it

One of the indicators of water quality is the abundance of mini-beasts or macro-invertebrates in the water.  This is the part that the kids love!  We dress the kids up in lab coats, ties and glasses and they become biologists, carefully examining the mini-beasts from their water sample under magnifying glasses and a microscope attached to a monitor screen.  Everyone gets a turn and it’s terrific fun.