8. Biodiversity

8.4 Activities

A green investigation

See from above if the green spaces around you are connected or fragmented


  • electronic device with Google Earth/Google Maps satellite view

Look up your home address on Google Earth, then zoom out


1. How much green space do you see in your immediate neighbourhood?

2. Can you trace your finger over the screen from green space to green space without lifting your finger?

3. Does the size of the green spaces change?

4. Are there green spaces near water sources?

5. Are there roads that break up green spaces?

6. What are the impacts of fragmented green spaces (or wildlife habitat) on biodiversity and ecosystems?

Considering these questions can help you learn how much (or how little) green space we have around us. Large patches are better than small ones, and connected green spaces are better than fragmented ones.

Canberra has quite a lot of green space, but sometimes this is not connected well enough for species to move about. Roads running through vegetated conservation areas can reduce the benefit of these areas, as some animals cannot get across the road, or may die trying. Overhead bridges or underground tunnels can help species move between patches of land. If species are able to stay connected, biodiversity at a genetic and species level will be greater.

Can you identify how well connected your area is? Perhaps you can see a spot that needs improvement.

There’s no box like home

Build a possum box to provide habitat for native animals

In urban areas old, tall trees with hollows are often not conserved. This means that possums have nowhere to live and will sometimes move into people’s roofs. To help the possums (and keep them out of your roof) you can build them a house of their own.

*This activity is based on one published by Wildlife Victoria. It is a great one for a woodworking class at school. It will need parent permission and assistance for box installation at home. More instructions and pictures can be found HERE


  • hand saw
  • power drill
  • jigsaw
  • screwdriver
  • sandpaper
  • pencil
  • measuring tape
  • straight edge
  • industrial strength plywood for the box (1 cm thick and ensure you choose a strong wood that won’t warp in the weather)
  • industrial strength wood for the post (at least 3.5 cm thick)
  • Three screws
  • nails or screws
  • wood glue
  • weatherproof paint
  • Two x galvanised 125 mm nails (to attach box to the tree)

Cut out all the pieces according to the measurements (circular hole 10 cm in diameter and the five drainage holes on the bottom piece each 1 cm in diameter).

Glue and screw the side pieces to the front piece.

Attach the three ledges, using nails/screw (see image of example possum box below).

Screw/nail the back piece to the three-sided frame you have. Then place this over the base piece and nail/screw that into place.

Screw the post to the right side of the box. Screw from the inside so that the sharp part of the screw faces the outside of the box and the possum won’t get hurt.

Attach the sloping roof and make sure it hangs over the front of the box by about 14 cm.

Fill any gaps in the box with wood glue to make it watertight.

Sand the box to remove splinters or rough edges, take particular care at the entry hole.

Paint the box with weatherproof paint. Make sure it is a natural colour like dark green or brown and don’t paint the entry hole as the possum may chew there.

Let the box sit for a few days so the smell of the paint disappears and then attach the box to a tall and sturdy tree.


  • Your possum box needs to be attached firmly to a large, mature tree so that it won’t fall out during a storm.
  • The box needs to be at least three metres off the ground for protection from dogs and cats.
  • Don’t put any towels inside the box, these will get dirty and can cause infections in the possum.

Grow a bee-garden

Help make your lawn attractive to native bees

Bees are important as they help support biodiversity by pollinating plants and allowing them to grow. About a third of Australia’s food production relies on bees.

You can choose plants for your garden that are good for bees, such as Grevilia and Hakea species. You can also plant flowers in your lawn to help bees – and reduce the area of lawn to mow, too. Plants such as clover, dandelion, thyme and daisies (available at local nurseries) are hardy and require little upkeep and watering, making them perfect for Australia’s dry climate.

When mowing the lawn, don’t use the grass catcher – allow the grass clippings to fall back onto the lawn, as this helps to fertilise it. This means the grass can grow deeper, stronger roots and the soil also becomes healthier.