Environment Education Program

For bookings or further information:
Please email Lisa Moloney the Education Program Co-ordinator at lisa.moloney@whitehorse.vic.gov.au or phone on 9262 6211

The Blackburn Lake Sanctuary Education Program is a free visitor service offered by the BLS Advisory Committee and the Friends of the Lake co-ordinated by the City of Whitehorse. It provides environmental and sustainability education programs for local schools and community groups.

Programs are delivered by Whitehorse City Council’s Parkswide Education Officer, together with a team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers.

School Program

Activities for school groups have been developed with AusVels 'general capabilities' in mind. Links to the specific correlations for each year level are included below. All activities can be tailored to suit any level as they have the cross-curriculum priorities of being 'sustainability' or 'Aboriginal culture' focussed.

Activity Guides for each level

The program aims to develop among visitors:

  • Understanding of, and sympathy for, the value of bushland in suburban areas, specifically Blackburn Lake Sanctuary
  • Concern to maintain such areas as sustainable environments
  • Opportunities for various age groups to experience and learn of the pleasures and challenges of a bushland area and to appreciate its importance to the community


The BLS Advisory Committee believes that having a reasonably intact bushland ecosystem in a suburban area can encourage understanding and appreciation of the bush in those members of the community who choose to live in suburban Melbourne. Positive attitudes can best be developed by using local volunteers who show, by example, their love of the area.

Would you like to become a volunteer for the Education Program?

Volunteers are vital to the running of our program.
New volunteers are always welcome and will receive an induction including a tour of the Sanctuary and Visitor Centre. They are invited to observe education sessions and volunteer training is offered on a regular basis. If you are interested, call 9262 6211.
For further information please email lisa, the Education Program Co-ordinator

Activity Outlines

Juby's Garden

Explore how the Wurrundjeri people may have lived on this land and utilised local plants for food, medicine and a range of everyday uses such as glue, making baskets and eel traps.

Barak’s Story

Hear the tale of William Barak as he encounters European settlers for the first time. Students will learn about traditional Wurundjeri lifestyle through storytelling and performance. They will also get to look at firesticks, hunting tools and see how a simple rope can be made from lomandra longifolia.

Swamp to sanctuary

Walk around the Sanctuary and learn about the European history of the site, from the lake's creation in the 1880s with its appeal to artists, to its time as a flower farm operated by the Adult Deaf Society and the opportunities it provides for environmental education today. Explore the important role the sanctuary plays in preserving indigenous flora and fauna and learn how we can all contribute to maintain this valuable asset.

Lake Life

Students will learn about where the lake water comes from and then use magnifying glasses, microscopes and charts to identify what is living on and just below the surface of the lake. They will learn how the organisms can be grouped to assist us to determine the water quality and use their findings to make predictions about: What would happen to life in the lake if there was more/less water pollution and rubbish? Why are people no longer permitted to swim, fish and use boats in the lake?

Creature Features

Students will reflect about the body features they have that help them survive. They will then observe a range of native fauna in the Visitors Centre and investigate why they have the features they do. An experiment will demonstrate how the shape of a bird's beak can give us clues about what they eat. The session will conclude with a walk to the lake to observe some features in the wild will reinforce how their body shape, feet and size can help a species survive.

Life Cycles

Models, posters, role play will be used to illustrate the life cycle stages of a flowering plant in a simple, fun and interactive way. Students will then take a walk to find examples in the sanctuary and identify each stage of the life cycle. The Life Cycle of frogs can also be explored.

Web of Life

Web of Life Game: Students represent the plant or animal on a card. They then use a ball of string to illustrate how their particular flora or fauna is connected to the others in a food web. Students will have an opportunity to explore the sanctuary to find examples of food chains and they learn the words we can use to describe the different roles, such as predator, prey, producer and consumer.

Sensory Trail/ Bingo

Students will explore the bushland setting using their senses for a range of activities. They will investigate why certain creatures have heightened senses depending on their lifestyle and diet and play a game of 'Bingo' which requires them to focus on looking, touching, smelling and listening.

Aquatic habitat

Students will explore the role of the lake as habitat and determine water quality using pH meters, thermometers and turbidity tubes. They will assess the health of the lake as wetland habitat by looking at vegetation and the effects of human impacts including introduced flora and fauna species.

Bushland Habitat

Students will discuss their basic needs and what their own habitat provides. They will then explore different layers of the bush, learning about why certain creatures live where they do. Older students will make predictions about what would happen if the habitat was impacted by humans or natural events such as fire.

Water Cycle

The 'water cycle' is now part of the secondary curriculum. However, a range of age appropriate activities about natural and urban water cycles have been tailored to suit any year level.