Discovery Morning: Minibeasts

We had a really exciting adventure with the local school (Kentucky Public School) a week back.

A class of kids came over to investigate, explore and discover ‘minibeasts’ otherwise known as insects or arthropods to be precise. We all spent time in and around the dam and investigating the living systems in the swales.

What Lies Beneath… 

The kids ran down the hill, kicked off their shoes and each with a net and a white bucket scooped up matter and observed what emerged from their ‘catch’. Most were wet through in minutes, but didn’t seem to mind in the excitement of discovery.

It was really fun and so exciting finding out what was in the dam. We discovered different shapes, sizes, colours, patterns, with legs and without legs, tadpoles, nymphs, larvae, large, small, minute, eggs, see through shrimps, minute yabbies and millions of insects and creatures we have no idea about what they are yet. We learnt so much about various species, their life cycles and all sorts of other incredible things God has created.

I unfortunately didn’t get any photographs of either the naturalists at work nor their discoveries at the pond as I was personally so engrossed in the whole thing. So below is a photo of the dam we checked out and I have attached two resources with all sorts of water creatures that you can investigate and go and find for yourselves if you so desire in a waterway or dam near you. The resources I found simple but informative with all sorts of information I did not know. They are fun for kids to check out when they find the various insects listed – we laminated a set and took them down to the dam so the kids could look them up on site, literacy in the field.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Unfortunately I was so involved in this part of the morning that I didn't get any photographs of the kids exploring the dam and all the amazing creatures they found beneath the surface.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Unfortunately I was so involved in this part of the morning that I didn’t get any photographs of the kids exploring the dam and all the amazing creatures they found beneath the surface.

Nature Activities: Water bug resources

press on the links below to open pdf’s with information on various water insects.

Buglopedia – click on highlighted word to open pdf

Buglopedia

Buglopedia – first page of the above pdf

Bug detective Guide – click on highlighted word to open pdf

Water Bugs Detectives

Water Bugs Detectives – first page of the above pdf

I found out that there are fresh water relations to the jellyfish in our dams – polyps. Mostly they are mistaken for water plants but they are actually arthropods (animals without backbones).

Below: Investigating the Living Systems to find out who and what was living there. Also an opportunity to see how the systems worked and provided shelter, water/moisture, food for all sorts of creatures. The kids were amazed by how many slugs were in there and the different varieties (we found on the internet a giant hot pink slug, that lives on Mount Kaputar, it is worth checking out http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2013/06/the-giant-pink-slugs-of-mount-kaputar).

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Pete asking questions of the kids about various insects and creatures.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Pete asking questions of the kids about various insects and creatures.

Below: Pete shows the kids how moisture is collected in the newspaper and provides food, moisture and shelter for various creatures in the fertility systems.

20141209 Pete shares about the basics of a loving eco-system, food, shelter, water/moisture and demonstrates using the living systems how this works in practice. (Minibeasts day with Kentucky School)

20141209 Pete shares about the basics of a loving eco-system, food, shelter, water/moisture and demonstrates using the living systems how this works in practice. (Minibeasts day with Kentucky School)

Below: the kids explore the living systems and see what they can find. We speculated at what animals may have made or live in the holes we found in the living systems.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Kids checking out a swale and what is living there. We had just had rain.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Kids checking out a swale and what is living there. We had just had rain.

Below: more exploring and investigation

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Kids checking out the swales and living systems for new discoveries and who might live there.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Kids checking out the swales and living systems for new discoveries and who might live there.

Pete and I had a most enjoyable day hanging out with kids and investigating insects.

We are keen to do more of these days for schools, kids and families who would like to learn and discover more about the natural environment. So if you are interested, please contact us to arrange a day of fun exploration, investigation and discovering all sorts of things that you may, or may not have seen before.

We will also put up any open days on the events page so check it out in the new year and come along if you desire.

Lastly, If you are an expert on insects and creatures and would like to come and hang out and share your knowledge and expertise, we would love to learn from you! Please contact us.

‘New Discoveries’ in the Natural World

New Discoveries for us.

God is one super loving being to create a world so full of diversity, wonder, variety, interesting stuff in such super abundance!

These are some creatures the kids and I have discovered about the place lately. We have yet to identify them. We are just enjoying finding them and watching them and seeing what they do, how they behave and wondering where they came from. They are so incredibly amazing.

For bigger images in a gallery style, go to the gallery page on the top menu bar and click on an image and it will come up so you can view it in detail.

We wish you all a life of wondrous adventures, exploration, discovery and experimentation.

In my humble opinion, God made this world a living, wondrous place to find out about God, Love, & ourselves. God’s discovery learning centre – the natural world around us – is truly exciting, splendid, awesomely magnificent and so full of wonders that if we truly engaged it with our whole soul I doubt we would ever stop asking questions and would passionately and continuously explore… For our entire existence! (It wouldn’t stop with this physical world we live in or our earth life I suspect.)

20140612 A new type of insect Iz Discovered on the Willow Tree. It seems to be a  bigger type of Aphid that leaves red on you if you touch it. Some also have wings.

20140612 A new type of insect Iz Discovered on the Willow Tree. It seems to be a bigger type of Aphid that leaves red on you if you touch it. Some also have wings.

20140612 A new type of insect Iz Discovered on the Willow Tree. It seems to be a  bigger type of Aphid that leaves red on you if you touch it. Some also have wings.

20140612 A new type of insect Iz Discovered on the Willow Tree. It seems to be a bigger type of Aphid that leaves red on you if you touch it. Some also have wings.

We think this is a type of Mealy Bug, not sure of it's exact species. as yet unidentified properly.

We think this is a type of Mealy Bug, not sure of it’s exact species. as yet unidentified properly.

A grape leaf caterpillar, I think its feet are  amazing!

A grape leaf caterpillar, I think its feet are amazing!

Spider & Insect Creation

Spider & Insect Creation

Insect house It's house is totally made out of carefully cut/chewed off pieces of gum leaf, perfectly arranged to blend into the tree. When I went back to look for it the second time I got such a shock as it had moved house and all. I thought it was so cool and wondered what it would be like to live in such a beautifully crafted work of art and perfection.

Leaf Case Moth – Hyalarcta huebneri, Insect house It’s house is totally made out of carefully cut/chewed off pieces of gum leaf, perfectly arranged to blend into the tree. When I went back to look for it the second time I got such a shock as it had moved house and all. I thought it was so cool and wondered what it would be like to live in such a beautifully crafted work of art and perfection.

20140509 spider

20140509 spider

Fungi growing out and around moist newspaper

Fungi growing out and around moist newspaper

Inspiring People: Phillip Spark

* This post has been updated

Phillip Spark is a man with a love and passion for the environment. Phil spends most of his his time travelling around monitoring, researching, checking out and recording species in different areas. He spends time talking to people about the environment and the creatures who live in it. He is writing books on specific areas in Australia which include his findings.

Phil, Eloisa, Melinda, Paul, Izabella, Charlie, Archie & skink, early morning expedition

Phil, Eloisa, Melinda, Paul, Izabella, Charlie, Archie & skink, early morning expedition

Phil came and spent some time monitoring wildlife for a project we are doing here and another project happening at Dalveen a couple of weeks ago as a bench mark so we can see what happens in the area as we plant more plant species and aid the creation of more habitat.

Dalveen early morning

Dalveen early morning

The kids woke up and literally jumped out of bed, organised themselves and were out the door in five minutes at 5:30am to go and check the traps Phil had put out the night before with peanut butter & muesli balls as an appetising snack to lure creatures in so we could see what species lived in certain areas. There were hours of lizard, geko, insect discovery and Phil there to answer all the questions that we could think of and many we didn’t even know or think to ask.

Spider

Spider

peanut butter and muesli mix

peanut butter and muesli mix

We had the opportunity to pat tiny bats, watch a red bellied black snake, hold cunningham’s skinks, see a geko malting, learn some latin and see frogs as small as a baby toe nail.

DSC_2572

Cunningham’s skink. These guys are so friendly and gorgeous

Geko shedding it's skin

Geko shedding it’s skin, they turn white eventually wriggle out of it when it is totally loose and are all shiny and new

We really enjoyed spending time in the bush, spotlighting at night and discovering all sorts of things that we hadn’t noticed before.

Thanks Phil for your time, enthusiasm and knowledge!

20131127 Yellow footed Antechinus

20131127 Yellow footed Antechinus

20131127 Yellow footed Antechinus, biting. Check out it's teeth

20131127 Yellow footed Antechinus, biting. Check out it’s teeth

Red Throat Skink

Red Throat Skink

Cunningham's skink who has lost it's tail

Cunningham’s skink who has lost it’s tail

This is a larger skink who’s tail is growing back.

Southern velvet Gekooedura Tryoni

Southern velvet geko, Gekooedura Tryoni

20131125 Geko diplodactylus vittatus

20131125 ctenotus taniolatus, Coppertail skink

20131125 ctenotus taniolatus, Coppertail skink

Mistiltoe flower

Mistiltoe flower

Fungai that was dry & looked like moth wings

Fungai that was dry & looked like moth wings

Tiny Fungai

Tiny Fungai

Southern velvet Geko, oedura Tryoni, tail that has been 'dropped' because it was afraid and left a squirming tail behind to fool predators

Southern velvet Geko, oedura Tryoni, tail that has been ‘dropped’ because it was afraid and left a squirming tail behind to fool predators

This image is large so you can see the detail up large of the scales and the bit that attaches to the geko as it is so amazing. When the Geko drops it’s tail it wiggles and squiggles and keeps going like that for quite a while so that the geko can escape and the predator eat the tail hopefully instead of the whole geko. Both Skinks and geko’s lose their tails even the big ones so it is best to catch them NOT by their tails. It takes a few months for their tails to grow back fully and when they do, on geko’s, there is a colour different so you can tell which geko has lost his tail previously. It is quite remarkable.

Big eared micro bat, don't have it's particular name, will replace this when I do

Big eared micro bat, don’t have it’s particular name, will replace this when I do

Chocolate wattle bat, micro bat genuis

Chocolate wattle bat, micro bat genuis

These little guys were so soft and so small, little micro bats with cool names. They are the little spectaculars who make the squeeks and high pitched calls in the nights. Because we caught them in the night and the sun was already up when we checked the trap, they were kept in a little canvas bag pegged on a string in the back of phil’s truck with the windows open for ventilation for the day. They slept all day and were released in the dark that night. If released in the day light they are easy targets for preditors. We also learned that they have a number of hollows that they frequent in a cyclical manner. So old trees – both living and dead with hollows are much needed for living quarters, shelter, shade and many other purposes for so many different species.

Inspiring People: Marla Spivak – Why Bees Are Disappearing

We thought this talk was interesting and an inspiration to go out and plant a variety of native flowering seeds or plants to your area which can provide food all year round for bees and insects. It is very common in Australia to have only Spring and Summer flowering plants when in fact there are different species that flower at different times in order to provide food all year round.

Native flowering plants to the region of where you live are going to be the most beneficial and will help re-establish micro-climates and eco-systems that have been steadily decimated.

If we plant an abundance and variety of necter and pollen producing plants then we would be on our way to creating a very different environment to the one we have now. At the moment we force small creatures, birds, organisms, insects etc to have to travel long distances, with increased stress and lower breeding abundance due to having cleared out many of the essential smaller flowering flora species.

Without bees and insects there would not be a single flowering plant or any food on the planet. I feel often we desire to remain unaware of our impact on the smaller creatures, especially insects, many of whom we view as ‘pests’ or we are afraid of when actually we rely on these intelligent creatures for our very survival. We need to stop eradicating and begin prolifically encouraging as much insect life and as diverse insect life as we possibly can if we truly want to re-establish and help regenerate healthy fully functioning eco-systems.

In Australia there are so many beautiful flowering trees, bushes, shrubs, flowers and ground covers to find out about and explore which can provide food and habitat for all kinds of wondrous intelligent life to flourish.

Have a lovely day, and we encourage you to observe the beautiful smaller creatures and find out the incredible roles they play in the existence and survival of our planet (if you desire to, smile).

Inspiring People: Sebastião & Leila Salgado

Pete found this interview on YouTube with Sebastião Salgado who is a man with a great story which he is living each day with his wife Leila.

He grew up on his families farm in Brazil that was a 50% rain forested property when he was a child, to a less than 1/2% barren, cattle grazing property that he inherited in later life. Leila suggested they grow the rainforest again when they moved back their. This is their story and link to their own website Instituto Terra (press here).

Regular Events: Environment Day

 

Creating a Fertility System

Creating a Fertility System

This is a basic outline giving a general overview of what the event Environment Day/days is all about.

We hold regular Environment Days (generally mornings) and they are an open invitation for anyone who would like to come and give to the land.

Peter generally facilitates the Environment Days and each one is a little bit different depending on the projects we are running and what needs doing at the time.
They may include but are not limited to:
  • Putting the Principles of Divine Truth into Action in our environment
  • Tree planting
  • Mulching
  • Water Management Projects
  • Waterless systems
  • Fertility/Living Systems
  • Fauna Boxes (making, placing, renovating)
  • Seed Collection
  • Hole digging
  • Removing Barbed Wire
  • Pond Creation
  • Fauna Projects
  • Flora Projects
  • Experimentation
  • And much more
 We Generally meet at the workshop and go out to the site we are working on together. We don’t want lots of vehicles traipsing all over the land so parking is up behind the workshop (big green shed).
We will let you know on the Events page as soon as possible if the day is cancelled for any reason.
The general things to bring are: (for specifics check the Event’s page)
Water bottle with enough water for the day
Snacks (Vegan/vegetarian food only while on the property please)
Work gloves
Own tools -maddock, digging tool of choice

We are also collecting the following and if you have any you would like to donate we would gladly take it off your hands to put into the projects we are doing.

  • We are asking for your old/new/used newspapers and cardboard (or your neighbours if they care to give it to you) that you do not want any more and would be willing to gather and bring along to Kyabra Station, Kentucky, when you come or we can arrange to drop it somewhere central so we can pick it up?
  • If anyone has any old Trampoline Springs (for fauna boxes) that they don’t want. Or if you know of any that others might not want theirs anymore. We would really like them and are happy to pick them up. please let us know if you do have any.
Thank you.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Email Peter and/or Eloisa at eloisalh@gmail.com or phone 02 67787348.

During some environmental events held here, there may be talks that include discussions about God, the Human Soul and other spiritual matters. However these will not be of long duration and any person can elect to not be present during these sessions.

Making Snake Haven's

Making Snake Haven’s

Regular Events: A Day in the Waterless Garden

New Growth in the waterless garden - self seeded

New Growth in the waterless garden – self seeded

A Day in the Waterless Garden is an event (usually a morning) generally facilitated by Lincon Trelor and Philippa Gray. (Check the Events Page for the next one)

It is an open invitation to come and learn the principles behind the waterless garden concept and to gift and contribute your time to various parts of this on-going project.
Lincon and Philippa hold days periodically and will do so until the project is completed. Check out the Events page for dates you can volunteer your time and efforts if you so desire.
For more information please contact Philippa and Lincon via email.
General things to Bring each time, check Events Page for specifics before you come as items may vary depending on the activity:
  • Water
  • Snacks if you want them
  • Sun protection
  • Gloves
  • Anything you feel you need for a day in the garden outdoors
Parking: Please park cars/vehicles up near the big green shed (Jumbuck) on the roadway and walk to the garden, behind the cottage on the grass oval, Thank you.
waterless garden