/ Education Programs / Biodiversity & Ecosystems

Biodiversity & Ecosystems

About The Program

The activities in this program are suitable for Foundation – Grade 8. Please see Program Options for full list of activities to choose from. 

The EcoCentre provides a wide range of biodiversity and ecosystem excursion activities covering wildlife in urban areas and indigenous perspectives, allowing schools to tailor their excursion to match curriculum needs, inquiry topics and student projects.

The activities delivered through our Biodiversity and Ecosystem excursion will provide your students with hands-on experiences where they learn about ecosystems, indigenous perspectives, pollinators, birds, macroinvertebrates (water bugs), hollows, nest boxes and insect hotels, animal adaptations and the impacts of humans.

There is a vast array of living things that all play important roles in the many different ecosystems on our planet. All life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their wellbeing and survival. Explore how humans have impacted our environment and how we can support it. 

● How do different plants and animals survive and thrive?                        ● What are First Nations people’s connection and knowledge of country?
● How can I protect or improve biodiversity in my local area or elsewhere?        


Port Phillip EcoCentre, St Kilda Botanical Gardens, 55A Blessington St, St Kilda VIC 3182

Excursion Duration:

4 hours (10am – 2pm). Shorter excursions (60min, 90min or 2 hour) can also be arranged.

Year Level:

Prep to Year 8

Maximum number of classes:

4 (Group max: 25)

Cost per class:

$500 + GST


All terms on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most suitable in the warmer, drier months of term 1 and 4.

Program Themes:

Biodiversity, Ecosystem, Indigenous Perspectives, Habitat, Adaptation, Insect, Food web, Indigenous plants

Understandings & Inquiry Skills
● F-2 Living things have a variety of external features and live in different places where their basic needs, including food, water and shelter, are met (VCSSU042)
● 3-4 Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (VCSSU057)
● 3-4 Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings to show patterns and relationships using formal and informal scientific language (VCSIS072)
● 5-6 Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)
● 7-8 Interactions between organisms can be described in terms of food chains and food webs and can be affected by human activity (VCSSU093)

Full Day Program: Please select up to 3 activities (1hr each). If you are a school of 4 classes (max 100 students) you will select 4 activities (45 mins each). 

Shorter excursions of up to 60 minutes, 90 minutes or 2 hours can also be arranged

1.Six Seasons of the Yalukut Weelam (Grade 4-8)                                                   The Yalukut Weelam’s close observation of nature provided them with six seasons by which to navigate their survival in the landscape. Students will go on a hands-on journey to understand the interconnection between the stars, rainfall, temperatures, plant flower time and animal breeding. Students will practice the Yalukut Weelam language of the Boon Wurrung people, in relation to the six seasons and local plants and animals.

2. Indigenous plants and animals as resources and food (F-8)                            Explore the Womenjika garden or Indigenous section of the St Kilda Botanical Garden where students will see, taste and touch indigenous plants. They will learn about plant and animal resources and food uses. Students will have an opportunity to make a reed bracelet.

3. Water bugs / Macroinvertebrates (STEAM) (F-8)
Clean water is important for the survival of all living things including humans. Students will be hands-on with classifying healthy water macroinvertebrates (water bugs) within St Kilda pond and will learn how nature is designed to filter and clean water.

4. Urban Wildlife, Tree Hollows and Nestbox Design (STEAM) (3-8)                 Explore the St Kilda Botanical Gardens, learning about the survival needs of native wildlife and how humans impact upon these animals and their habitat. Students will learn about the role of tree hollows and nest boxes in an urban environment. Inspect different next boxes and predict what animals these would suit and what the specific design features are. Sketch a design for a particular animal and note what materials and features would be required, attaching mechanisms and features and explaining their importance.

5. Insect Safari  (F-6)                                                                                                 Using magnifying cups and insect collecting sheets students will learn how to find and collect insects. Are there different insects in different sections of the gardens and what role do they play? Students will study, learn about and draw their insects.

6. Worms and Minibeasts (F-6)                                                                               Students will inquire into the features of worms and their role in the ecosystem, including a hands-on investigation of live worms and interactive role play. Students will explore Leaf Litter habitat to investigate, draw and record minibeasts and other species they find. 




Restrictions: Our group sizes are capped at 25 students and our maximum is 100 per excursion. More than 4 classes can be accommodated by special request.
We will send you instructions for transport and a day plan after you book.

All excursions are run on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Wildlife in urban areas
Explore the Botanical Gardens learning about the survival needs of native wildlife and how humans impact these animals and their habitat. Focus on solutions like urban corridors, backyard biodiversity, insect hotels and nest boxes. Use our endoscope to see what animals live inside our nest boxes.

2. Plant adaptations
Explore the Botanical Gardens learning about the different plants and how they have adapted to live in different climates, save water and attract pollinators. Students will be hands-on with our leaf literacy activity.

5. Indigenous plants and animals as resources and food
Explore the Womenjika garden or Indigenous section of the St Kilda Botanical Garden where students will see, taste and touch indigenous plants. They will learn about plant and animal resources and food uses. Students will have an opportunity to either taste bush tea/ cordial or make a reed bracelet.

6. Bird Beak adaptation relay (STEAM)
Relay style activity where students learn about different birds, their beaks and how they have adapted to eat different food. Conduct a bird survey to find birds with each type of beak.

7. Food Web
As a group students will create a food web using species information cards and a ball of wool. This ecosystem will experience ‘events’ that will change the connections within the ecosystem and reduce its resilience to change and possibly survival.

The hour-long activity will also include a bat/moth/cat/tree ecosystem activity.

8. Insect adaptations
There are many types of wings within the insects of the Botanical Gardens and each type of wing has adapted for different reasons. Through hands-on activities, students will research these different types of wings and how the insects use them. Following on from their research the students will design their own insects.

● 9-10 Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (VCSSU121)

"We had an amazing time - the kids were really engaged and it was a great kick start to our inquiry unit. The most valuable excursion I’ve been involved in for ages!"

- Year 1/2 Teacher

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Please note, outdoor excursions only run on Tues, Wed, Thursdays.

School Information

Organising Teacher Details

The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukit Willam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional custodians of the land on which we are located.

We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other First Nations and Elder members of our multicultural community.