The West Gate Tunnel Project team has partnered with local schools and community organisations to provide new homes for wildlife and to help revitalise school garden beds and grounds in Melbourne’s west, as part of a larger program to educate students about native fauna and sustainability.

    Last month, 40 Grade One and Grade Three students from Wembley Primary School teamed up with the project to build 35 nest boxes in the classroom.

    The nest boxes will be installed in areas where vegetation has been cleared to provide new homes for the birds and animals, including possums and microbats, currently living in the trees.

    West Gate Tunnel Environment Manager Mark Wloch said they look forward to welcoming the new arrivals and hope to see a large uptake of nesting boxes by local wildlife.

    “Each box has been installed with a GPS system so students can track the uptake by native animals.”

    “This is a fantastic opportunity for school children to learn first-hand about the importance of protecting native animals and the environment.”

    Mark added that the project team will also inspect the boxes in the coming months to check that they are being used. Building nest boxes is just one small part of the West Gate Tunnel Project’s comprehensive environment management program which also includes collecting hundreds of seeds from native trees, creating mulch from cleared trees and donating it for local projects, and replanting thousands of trees in the west.

    Mark said every effort is being made to keep as many trees as possible to build the project.

    “We want to protect and maintain the natural environment in the west.”

    Once the project is complete, over 17,500 trees will have been planted, with five planted for every tree removed. Trees will be planted along local waterways and between residential areas and the West Gate Freeway. They will also be planted within the new open space the West Gate Tunnel Project is creating in Altona North and near Stony Creek.

    The project’s environment team is delivering the donated and much-needed mulch from removed trees to local schools and community organisations.

    West Gate Tunnel Project engineer Milan Milutinovic recently delivered 15 cubic metres of mulch to Footscray City Primary School, where he was a former student.

    “As a project, we are focussed on delivering sustainable solutions to areas impacted by our work.

    “It’s great to support my old school and to see school gardens increasingly being used as educational hubs to learn about sustainability and the environment.”

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