Vulnerable frogs get helping hand from Sunny Coast school kids

Some of South East Queensland’s vulnerable acid frog species now have a bigger, greener and safer native habitat on the Sunshine Coast thanks to a collaborative conservation project.

As part of World Wetlands Day celebrations on 28 February, Healthy Land and Water partnered with Stockland, Traditional Owners and local students to expand a frog habitat within the 700-hectare Aura Conservation Zone.

Students from Unity College and Baringa State Primary School had fun getting muddy as they planted over 750 new sedges and reeds within a specially designed acid frog breeding pond.

The breeding pond was first established in March 2018 as part of the Aura Community Stewardship Group with the planting of 820 rushes and sedges, designed to offset the environmental impacts of Stockland’s nearby master-planned Aura development.

The vulnerable wallum sedge frog (Photo by Scott Eipper).

A year on, the rushes and sedges are well established, and the breeding pond is already providing vital habitat for vulnerable species like the wallum sedgefrog and many other birds, butterflies and small native mammals.

Healthy Land and Water CEO Julie McLellan said the new planting will expand frog habitat and build on the significant environmental outcomes already achieved at Aura.

“We are extremely proud to be part of a collaborative project that has already achieved success in such a short amount of time,” she said.

“The breeding pond already provides vital habitat for vulnerable frog species, and we are excited to watch the area grow as the plants establish and more native animals move in and make the habitat their home.”

Earlier in the day, students listened to talks from frog expert Dr Ed Meyer and Fauna Watch’s Red Kernot, who explained why the Aura project was so crucial for frog conservation and the natural environment.

Ms McLellan said it was vital that young people were aware of pressures on the environment and how they can contribute to a healthier and greener SEQ.

“One of the best parts of this project is how heavily involved local students are in the conservation effort,” she said.

“The project allows young people to have fun, see close-up the benefits of conservation and be an integral part of what promises to be a long-term environmental success story on the Sunshine Coast.”

“In the years ahead, as the breeding pond flourishes and expands, these students will look back with pride on being part of something special.

Stockland Senior Environment and Community Development Manager Mark Stephens said the project highlighted Stockland’s commitment to the environment and the community.

“The latest annual fauna count reveals more than 200 species of wildlife, and the return of these biodiversity values demonstrates how sustainable development can work hand-in-hand with the community to achieve outstanding results,” he said.

The frog breeding project is one of the key initiatives undertaken by the Aura Community Stewardship Group (ACSG).

ACSG, which is co-ordinated by Healthy Land and Water, consists of 16 community organisations working together to identify and optimise opportunities for community management of natural areas within Aura.

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