Wetlands are everywhere in Australia and are important ecosystems.

They act as filters, nurseries, habitats, food and prevent erosion.

Our education resource is great to use in the classroom before you visit Kings Park or at a wetland near you. Find out some useful tips and tools to help investigate the health of a wetland using macroinvertebrates.

Macroinvertebrates are small invertebrates found in wetlands. These include juvenile stages of many insects; like dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies, caddisflies, water beetles and more. These animals have different sensitivities to changes in the environment, so the number and type of macro-invertebrates in the ecosystem can tell us how healthy it is.


Knowledge

John shares some tips to investigate the health of a wetland ecosystem. Watch this short video filmed here in our Kings Park Education wetland to learn some useful sampling techniques.

Watch 'Healthy Wetlands' video on YouTube

Would you like to learn even more about Australian wetlands? Read 'Discovering wetlands in Australia – a primary classroom resource' by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities (Australian Government).


Action

Underwater viewer

Discover what lives in the water! Follow the instructions below to make an underwater viewer, then download the National Waterbug Blitz app. With your underwater viewer and the app, discover the diversity of macroinvertebrates that live in your local wetland.

Discover what lives in water with the help of the underwater viewer.View image slideshow

Materials:

  • Clear round plastic bottle with lid
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors

Method:

  1. Cut a viewing window. Cut a rectangular shaped window out of the plastic bottle to create a viewing window.
  2. Tape up. Tear strips of masking tape to stick along the edge of the cut-out window.
  3. Observe. Use viewer to make observations of macroinvertebrates.

Secchi disc

A Secchi disc is used to measure turbidity in water which is a measure of how clear the water is. Turbidity or 'cloudiness' can be caused by a multitude of factors such as suspended particles, microorganisms or dead organic matter floating through the water column.

Make a Secchi disc to add to your toolkit and test water turbidity. View image slideshow

Materials:

  • Recycled white plastic lid
  • Nail and hammer
  • Five metres of string
  • Weights (tap washers or fishing sinker size one)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Black permanent marker pen

Method:

  1. Cut the lip off the plastic lid.
  2. Draw a cross through the middle of the lid and colour in two of the quadrants black.
  3. Use a nail and hammer to punch a hole in the middle of the lid. Thread the string through the hole and tie a large knot to hold the string in place. Now tie small knots every 30 cm along the string.
  4. Tie the weight onto the string on the underside of the Secchi disc. Test the disc to see if it sinks. Add more weights if required.
  5. Now head to your local wetland to see how clean the water is by using your Secchi disc to measure the turbidity.

Notes:

To measure turbidity, lower the disc slowly into the water counting the knots as you go. Record the number of knots it takes to reach the point where you can no longer see the disc. This is how far you can see through the water column. Record in centimetres or metres depending on the depth of water body.


Citizen

With your new skills and knowledge visit a site near your school to participate in a citizen science program.

The 'National Waterbug Blitz' is an Australian wide waterway monitoring event.

Each year, Australians are encouraged to become ‘citizen scientists’ and investigate how healthy their local waterways and wetlands are, simply by exploring and identifying macroinvertebrates. Students enter the number and type of macroinvertebrates they find into the app and help with real science. Download the app today.


Cultural

Watch this short movie presented by Kings Park Education Officer Rickeeta Walley. Rickeeta is a proud Wadjuk Nyoongar yok (woman) with connections to seven of the 14 Nyoongar nations. She has a passion for Aboriginal language preservation and education.

Watch 'Kep Katitjin' video on YouTube


Connection

We would love to hear from you and your class. Share your photos and findings with us via social media using the hashtag #STEMActionInKingsPark.

If your students have any questions email us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

View our other Primary School Bites activities and check out the other education programs we run here in Kings Park.

Clear round plastic bottle with lid, masking tape and scissors Cut a viewing window in the bottle. Tape up the sharp edges of the cut-out window. A Mayfly nymph with a sensitivity rating of 9.

Assemble materials to make a Secchi disc. A cross through the middle of the lid and colour in two of the quadrants black. Secchi disc with weights Secchi disc is ready to be used Using your Secchi disk to measure the turbidity

COVID-19

The wellbeing of our visitors, volunteers and staff is our number one priority during the current COVID-19 situation. We are closely monitoring and responding to Government health advice and putting extra measures in place to protect our staff, volunteers and visitors.

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Western Australia has returned a glowing report card to Kings Park via a community survey conducted early in 2020, with clear expectations for the park’s role in conserving the State’s flora and supporting the health of the community in its future management.

Invitation to comment

The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority is seeking community feedback on the Draft Kings Park and Botanic Garden Management Plan 2021-2025 that will guide park management over the next five years.

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