As part of its fish farm, Holy Family Catholic School at Parafield Gardens has been successfully breeding the critically endangered Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon and caring for the Southern Pygmy Perch.
Originally thought to be extinct due to the degradation of the Murray Darling and increasing numbers of red fin and carp in the river, scientists were delighted to ‘rediscover’ both species about seven years ago.
Last year some of the fish were donated to Holy Family for breeding purposes and numbers have been gradually increasing. In the coming months both species will be released into four billabongs being constructed at the school, which will mirror their natural habitats and be more conducive to their breeding and feeding habits.
The $500 grant received from the Ecology Advisory Committee will enable the school to purchase three microscopes to be used by students to study and investigate the macroinvertebrates that form part of the food chain for the fish.
Gerry McCarthy, who looks after the project, said the fish farm provided a wonderful learning opportunity to develop ecological awareness in young minds and reinforce their responsibility to contribute to the sustainable use of the earth’s resources.
“It’s very hands-on as the students help with water testing and changing, and feeding the fish,” he said.
“I definitely think there are students here who might want to go on and be marine biologists because of their involvement with the farm.”
Year 4 student Michael Wanganeen said he enjoyed spending time at the farm and learning about the different fish species.
“I usually come here every day and I really like helping out with the endangered species – feeding them and making sure they are OK,” he said.
Holy Family was one of the 16 schools from throughout the State to receive a ‘Call to Ecological Conversion and Action’ grant, intended to support student engagement in ‘caring for our common home’.
Other recipients were St Anthony’s School, Dominican School, Galilee Campus Cardijn College, Rosary School, St Margaret Mary’s School, St Mark’s College Port Pirie, St Catherine’s, St Joseph’s Peterborough, St Paul’s College, St Mary’s College, McAuley Community School, Christ the King School, Tenison Woods College, St Francis of Assisi School and Gleeson College.Jump to next article