RiverConnect introduced the Shepparton High School Science staff School to John Caldow, the field officer for the Bug Blitz program. This program aims to reignite in students, the spark of discovery in Science by inviting them to participate in various biological projects and is sponsored by founder and philanthropist, O.E Wilson.
All year 8 students from Shepp High participated in the Bug Blitz project, under the guidance of Science teachers, Cat Jenkins, Leigh McIntyre and myself. It formed part of an overall program, “Reach out to your River”, which involved the students in a full term program of activities centred around the Goulburn River, supported by Landcare and WaterWatch members. With Bug Blitz, working in pairs, students were required to select an area of soil approximately one metre square and collect one centimetre depth with leaf litter etc. This sample was then placed in a simple version of a Berlaise Lamp with the aim of collecting any ‘bugs’ present. The term ‘bugs’ in this case referred to a wide range of small invertebrates. The sample was then analysed, counted, identified and photographed with magnifying glasses and a Dinolite.
The results varied, as expected, depending on the location and richness of the soil sample. Specimens included worms, insect larvae, cockroaches, centipedes and millipedes and many spiders.
Students were excited by their bug collecting, which enabled them to branch out and look under bark and leaf litter and collect a variety of life. They enjoyed examining their samples and attempting to identify their specimens.
The staff and students appreciated the support of Bonny Schnorrenberg and Wendy D’Amore from RiverConnect and John Laing from Landcare. Special thanks to John Caldow who travelled from Gippsland to check on and assist us. This type of hands on activity was just what was needed to bolster the Reach program.
Pauline Pettigrew, Shepparton High School.