Fire plays a big role in WA ecosystems and has been used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years.

European settlement has affected natural fire behaviour, which in turn has changed native ecosystems. Scientists in Kings Park are assessing the impacts of varying fire and weed management approaches on plant diversity, weed cover and fuel loads in the urban Banksia Woodland.

Many Western Australian plant species have adaptations to survive in this fire prone environment. Some examples include using the heat of fires to release their seeds, germination stimulated by smoke, regrowth of trees from epicormic buds and lignotubers.

Join us to investigate our Banksia Woodland and learn about the variety of plant adaptations in the South West.


Knowledge

Meet Russell Miller, a research scientist with Kings Park. His research is focused on understanding how plants in Perth's Banksia Woodland respond to fire, this knowledge will help improve land management for conservation. Join Russell in sharing his knowledge in fire science.

Watch 'Fire Ecology' video on YouTube

Visit the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions website to learn even more about fire science here in Western Australia.


Action

Identify a native plant i.e. Silver Princess (Eucalyptus caesia).View image slideshow

Transpiration Experiment

This is a fun experiment to investigate how a plant loses water through its leaves. Leaves have tiny holes called stomata. Water travels up through the roots of plants and passes out the stomata by evaporation. This is called transpiration. Plants in Australia have adapted in different ways to slow this down. Let’s investigate!

Carry out this experiment to measure how much water is lost through transpiration in different Western Australian plants at your school. Collect the water at the end of the experiment to measure the total volume (ml) lost. Make predictions. Take photos. Compare with class members.

Materials:

  • Clear plastic bag
  • Elastic band
  • Measuring cylinder
  • Camera or phone

Method:

  1. Identify a Western Australian plant at school. Florabase website will help to do this.
  2. Label a clear, clean plastic bag with your name, the date and the plant name.
  3. Tie the labelled plastic bag firmly around a bunch of leaves on the plant. Be gentle.
  4. Draw a table for observations (or use pdfour template).
  5. Check the bag every day. Record observations and take photos.
  6. Correlate results. Use the data to make conclusions. Draw a graph to show water loss (ml) in different plant species at school. Share results with your class. Do all plants species transpire the same?

Extension:

  • Discuss rate of transpiration. What does this mean?
  • List factors that affect the rate of transpiration.
  • How would you find out if native plants transpire less than non-native plants?
  • Two hypothesis to test in the classroom:
    1. The effect of light intensity on transpiration.
    2. The effect of temperature on transpiration.

Citizen

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

Participating in environmentally friendly behaviour increases civic interest and ability to take action. When we equip students to lead action at their school and in their community, they are more likely to become custodians of social and environmental responsibility, educate their families and broader community about the value of sustainability.

ClimateWatch is an Australian program that aims to monitor and collect phenology data during seasonal events that will help scientists understand the effects of climate change.

Being a ClimateWatcher is simple. Download the ClimateWatch app, then observe and record plant and animal information at school. Or look for a ClimateWatch trail in your area. The information collected will be used by scientists, policy makers and land managers to understand climate change and take appropriate measures.


Cultural

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

Watch 'Karla 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.

Collect materials for your transpiration experiment. Day 1 of the transpiration experiment. Day 2 of the transpiration experiment. Day 5 of the transpiration experiment. Collect water and measure its volume.

Fraser Ave disruption

There is a minor disruption on Fraser Avenue near Kings Park Road due to tree works. Traffic management is in place and access is not affected.

Biara Cafe temporary closure

Biara Cafe will be closing temporarily from 2 August - 19 September for refurbishment works.

Administration car park closure

There will be limited access to the BGPA Administration building and the Kings Park Education and Learning building from Wednesday 15 June 2022 for approximately 8 weeks, due to ongoing Water Corporation works.

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New Bold Park Management Plan

The Bold Park Management Plan 2022 - 2027 has been published by BGPA after a period of extensive public consultation

Hort Couture - Community Art Project

Crochet and knitting enthusiasts - we want you!

It's that time of year again, when the wildflowers start to bloom and our thoughts turn to all things spring. In celebration of our gorgeous selection of WA wildflowers, we are running another of our famous community crocheting projects.

Ready, aim, restore! A new approach to define and achieve restoration targets

A team of researchers from Kings Park Science in Biodiversity and Conservation Science, the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain, have led the development of an approach for ecosystem restoration which connects scientific research, restoration policy, and on-the-ground action.

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