On a roll in Lancefield

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11 July 2023

The students at St Mary’s School, Lancefield, have embarked on an ambitious project to support their local farmers. Jo Shannon, the school’s Community Liaison Leader, shares their journey investigating the important role of one of the world’s most underestimated insects:

Our Environment Group joined the Earthwatch Kids Teaching Kids Program last year for the first time. Our focus was the importance of insects on biodiversity and ecosystems. We wanted to continue with this topic this year when our local Junior Landcare Facilitator brought dung beetles to our attention.

We did some research and found this particular insect was just amazing. For such a little creature, it sure does a vital job for our environment. It was the perfect creature to focus on, as farming in our area is widespread. We were connected with Hew and Di from Midhill Vineyard in Romsey, who have been using dung beetles for some time now. We were able to visit their property, learn some more about these incredible little creatures, and then have some fun finding signs of their existence in the cow dung and then digging some up.

The students and staff had so much fun, and this further confirmed our decision to focus on dung beetles. In Term 3, we hope to set up a dung beetle nursery for breeding purposes. With the assistance of our Junior Landcare Facilitator and local farmers, we’ll try our hand at growing the number of dung beetles in the area and sharing these to do their good work with farmers from local properties.