A little voluntary work in Thurgoona on Tuesday could end up making a lot of difference to a tiny frog’s future.
Native grasses have been planted at Charles Sturt University to increase shelter for the vulnerable Sloane’s froglet, which has been found, or at least heard, on the campus.
“We tend to hear them more than see them,” Michelle Wilkinson, of CSU Green, said.
“With the growth of our cities, we’re losing a lot of habitat to obviously more houses and things.
“Charles Sturt University’s got really important areas of biodiversity for all sorts of creatures, not just Sloane’s froglet.
“We’ve got areas where we’ve planted up for bird life and all sorts of our native animals so it’s really important that we engage the community and protect all of these areas.”
About 10 Job Centre Australia volunteers joined with CSU staff to plant seedlings and erect guards to protect the additions.
Job Centre Australia NDIS support workers Jordan McGrath and Vanessa Richards said the event was one of many activities the group members did to develop their work and life skills.
“It’s to expose them to different industries and workplaces,” Miss Richards said.
“All these young people are here to learn about work and helping their local community,” Mr McGrath added.
CSU wildlife ecology lecturer Geoff Heard said the volunteer labour helped in establishing new habitat.
“It will really fast track the development of the site in terms of its quality for the frog,” he said.
Dr Heard said a survey by PhD student Alex Knight about six years ago confirmed the presence of Sloane’s froglets at CSU.
“It’s a lovely little frog, it’s about an inch long and a threatened species,” he said.
“It seems to have declined quite sharply in the last few decades, and we’re not sure exactly why, but thankfully it’s doing well on the campus and in Thurgoona more generally.
“There’s a lot of urban development going on, so the campus will become more and more important for the species, so these little wetlands are being created.”
Ms Wilkinson said trampling by cattle, loss of habitat through clearing, drought and long-term changes to climate patterns and changing water flows through creeks and wetlands all affected frog populations.
“It really likes those wetlands that just are around for the winter and then dry up in summer so you can imagine a lot of those are disappearing with farmlands,” she said.
“We’re planting a range of grasses and shrubs because the froglets actually like not to be in the shade so they have some specific grasses that they love to breed in.”
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