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Wetlands Education › Frog Zone › New South Wales
Update on FROGZONE from State Coordinator - Marion Anstis
NSW Pilot School: Wideview Public School, Berowra Heights, NSW.
Principal: Cherie Bourke
Staff Representative: Luba Dempsey
This school is on a ridge top, with the Berowra Bushland Valley Reserve a short walk away. The Reserve has small drainage creeks and ephemeral water courses running down the bushy, sandstone hillsides into feeder creeks that run into the main Berowra Creek catchment below. Beside some sections of the ephemeral water courses, the endangered Red-crowned toadlet can be found - a small, beautifully coloured frog which hides under leaf litter and rocks.

Some hanging swamps can be found along the fire trail tracks, which are breeding sites for local frog species such as Peron's Tree Frog, the Common Eastern Froglet and the Striped Marsh Frog. There is a section of bush behind the school where local bush regenerators have cleared weeds from a section of bushland which will be suitable for the school's FROG ZONE. The Principal and staff of the school and parent community are very enthusiastic about the prospect of a wetland area and a local excavator, Rob Speters, has offered his services voluntarily to do the initial digging and possible rock removal. There are some trees and logs nearby and large rocks at the sides already there, suitable both as vantage points to view the pond and as hiding places for frogs and reptiles.

It is now a full eighteen months since Wideview received a grant from the Centre for Environment Education Australia to build a Frog Zone in our school grounds. This generous grant has made it possible to consider providing an educational resource for our school which will enhance the playground, increase biodiversity of flora and fauna, and be a centre for many studies from all key learning areas. The grant from CEE Australia includes a comprehensive teaching and learning manual, and guidelines for the management of the Frog Zone. It is anticipated that other local schools may also be able to access the Frog Zone at Wideview for their studies of life cycles and other areas of interest.

Many hurdles have had to be crossed in order for us to finally say that we are now in a position to make use of this generous grant of $1000. In November 2003, Hornsby Council was consulted regarding permission for a body of water to be placed in a public place such as a school playground. A requirement from council was to canvass our school neighbours who may be directly affected by proximity to a pond of frogs. This was done and all were unanimous in their support. Permission from council was granted in February 2004. Approval from the NSW Department of Education was granted for the project in March 2004, but they required that the proposed pond be fenced for safety reasons. Several executive staff changes at Wideview have meant that decisions regarding the construction of the pond could not progress as rapidly as hoped, but with support from our present executive and staff and with the generous help of Wideview's P&C, it is now anticipated that the fencing will be able to be provided and the project begun. It is to be sited in the bushcare area near the south-western boundary of the school playground.

An application for a further grant of $1500 was applied for in May 2004 from the NSW Environmental Trust from its Eco Grants for Schools programme. This application was successful and the grant has now been received by the school.

The monies received from the two grants will provide liner, sand and plants and go towards the fence. Generous support has been promised by Mr Rob Speteri, a local excavator, to dig the hole and assist with landscaping. Our warmest thanks go to Mr Speteri.

It is expected that Rob will begin the excavation on 28th May, and the pond will finally then be underway! We will be greatly in need of lots of man and woman power from then on to shift sand, spread the liner assist with fence building and plant plants. Please give this worthwhile project your unqualified support. And local parents, children and friends - become a Wideview frog-lover!

The children will be further involved as soon as the project is nearing completion, as we will need a slogan for our sign and badges for eager frog-lovers to wear, and of course there will be so much to learn!
Wideview Frogzone Committee :
L. Eggins, M. Anstis, L. Dempsey, S. Lockard