Students get experience on the hop

Jon SolmundsonGeraldton Guardian
TAFE wildlife management students Amy Hall, Jai Corbett, Kailah Dodd, Jamine Bowran, Erin Harring, Ethan Rogers, Rebekah Fisher and Melissa Kelly help out with the weeding at Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park.
Camera IconTAFE wildlife management students Amy Hall, Jai Corbett, Kailah Dodd, Jamine Bowran, Erin Harring, Ethan Rogers, Rebekah Fisher and Melissa Kelly help out with the weeding at Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park. Credit: Jon Solmundson

Students from the Central Regional TAFE put in some legwork recently, volunteering to clear the Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park’s kangaroo enclosure of weeds while learning about wildlife management in the process.

The eight Certificate III Wildlife Management students arrived at the park at 9.30am, and continued to work throughout the day, hand-pulling weeds which were suffocating other grasses and plants.

Animal care lecturer Skye Strutton said the exercise helped to show them there was more going on behind closed doors at a wildlife park than what most people think.

“It’s not so much the gardening side of things as the animal side, how to interact with animals when you’re trying to do something while they’re in the enclosure,” she said.

“For me it allows me to make an observation not only on how they’re interacting with wildlife but also how they’re working as a team, how they’re servicing the community, it’s not only for their learning.

“I like to try to get out of the classroom from time to time, because that’s not how everyone in this group learns, they’re very hands on ... they prefer to be outdoors, do practical interaction with the animals.”

Student Jasmine Bowran said the kangaroos also had a fondness for trying to kiss people on the face, which could easily get in the way of the work they were trying to do, and one of the kangaroos tried to punch her when she was working nearby.

“If you’ve ever seen a boxing kangaroo, it’s like that, but they’re only little and they’re just being territorial,” she said.

Student Rebekah Fisher said the group had learnt how to deal differently with various types of animals.

“It’s about how to get them not to be aggressive, because it depends how you stand — if you’re standing in front of a dog they’re going to behave a certain way, but that’s different for the roos.”

Student Kailah Dodd said they had spread fresh food around the area when they came in, to give the animals something that they could be more interested in than the people working.

“They’re pretty friendly, and very curious, and just want to know what you’re doing,” she said.

Park manager Michelle Jones said she was very impressed with the students’ dedication and numerous questions.

“This was a great initiative for young kids to help the community while learning about native wildlife, their habitat and invasive weeds at the same time,” she said.

“Their work is very much appreciated by us here at the park.”

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