Kids & Conservation
Are you up for some fun, and perhaps a challenge?
We’ve enjoyed putting together a mixture of our favourite activities and ideas to get you out and about in the natural world. Keep coming back to see what new Kids & Conservation activities are here for you to enjoy!
You’ll find puzzles, stories, music, indoor and outdoor activities, artwork that kids have shared with us (you could too!), places to go and more!
We’d love to hear what you think. If your parents say it’s OK (please ask them first), you can ask Sue a question. Perhaps you’ve got an idea for an activity you’d like to see on this page. Fabulous! We’d love to hear from you – get in touch 🙂
Mum or dad might like to follow us on Facebook too.
Something new, just for you!
The breeding season for Helmeted Honeyeater’s starts in late winter. Nests are built, followed by eggs being laid and the chirping of hungry nestlings and fledglings. It’s not an exact science, as all individuals are different, but did you know that we can estimate how old a young Helmeted Honeyeater is just by looking at its tail length? It’s true!
Test your skills. Using the sunflower guide, how old do you think the pictured Helmeted Honeyeaters are?
Try it out on the young birds you see around your neighbourhood. Can you spot any young birds with shorter tails than other birds of the same kind? Do you think the birds you’re seeing are adults, or young birds? Why do you think that?
These books feature two of our favourite Victorian Emblems: the Helmeted Honeyeater and the Leadbeater’s Possum!
Two books and the booklet have been written and illustrated by talented volunteers and/or FoHH staff especially for the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater to sell, at a very reasonable cost, with all profits going to our on-ground work to educate about and create habitat for the Helmeted Honeyeater. Other books have been created by organisations that we partner with. The FoHH are delighted to share them with you!
⭐️SNEAK PREVIEW. Part 1 just released⭐️
Click HERE for your FREE download of part 1 of the Friends NEW 16-page booklet.
Click HERE to purchase the complete 16-page booklet.
It’s filled with fast facts about the Helmeted Honeyeater, alongside children’s activities that the whole family can participate in. There’s a focus on the stages in the Helmeted Honeyeater’s breeding season and what we can all do to help them survive into the future.
H is for Helmeted Honeyeater.
Click HERE to purchase a copy of ‘An Antechinus in the Attic‘. An A-Z of endangered, rare and iconic animals by Viarnne Mischon. It is witty, fun and educational, excellent for kids but likely to be equally enjoyed by the adults in your life!
|It’s worth 2 pictures, don’t you agree 🙂|
Click HERE to purchase a copy of ‘Lunar the Leadbeater’s Possum‘.
Mieke Florisson was 11 years old when she became a published author, with the idea of raising awareness about Victoria’s threatened faunal emblems. The FoHH were so impressed with Mieke’s story that we funded the publishing of 100 copies! Mieke’s story, Lunar the Leadbeater’s Possum, tells the tale of a Leadbeater’s Possum named Lunar who has to move out of home and find his own way in the world. Along the way Lunar comes across many challenges. Will Lunar be able to find a home? The FoHH invited Mieke and her family to present her book to The Victorian Governor, His Excellency The Honourable Alex Chernov and Mrs Chernov. They loved reading it and we think you will too 🙂
Click HERE to purchase a copy of ‘Hilton Hunts for a Home‘.
Two very creative FoHH volunteers, Sheena Geyson and David Williams, wrote and illustrated this children’s book about Hilton who is now old enough to find a home for himself. Where does he go? Who does he meet on his adventure away from his family? What is the surprise that Cassie shows him? Follow his journey to find out!
Free downloadable eBook HERE.
Produced by the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in 2020 in response to the Museum’s venue closure due to COVID-19, My Home Yarra Ranges follows the journey of Yelli, a Helmeted Honeyeater and Bo, a Leadbeater’s Possum as they visit places across the Yarra Ranges and uncover stories about people, objects and images from the Museum’s collection. The eBook is also intertwined with puzzles, games and colouring pages produced by local artists.
Not just one, but two free downloadable books HERE!
Spectacular Splendid Swamps and The Great Forest Guardian are two books released by Parks Victoria in August 2021. Written by Jordan Charters and illustrated by Tania Ennor. The heroes of each story promote a love of and connection to place, and demonstrate ways to care for these animals and their special habitats.
|COMING SOON. More books!|
Songs and musical activities
Do you love to sing, rap or play an instrument? Us too!
Together with our talented volunteers and friends, we’d love to share some musical ideas with you!
|Rap to the song, and be inspired to create your own version! Join in with Macclesfield Primary School students as they share the rap song they wrote as part of the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater’s Ambassador’s Program. The rap is called ‘Saving the Helmeted Honeyeater‘. A huge thank you to Jules Vines and 97.1FM 3MDR for making this possible!|
|Download the music & lyrics to The Helmeted Honeyeater Song. Lyrics by Sarah Wettenhall and Julius Webster. This song has been sung by the Victorian state parliamentarian’s in parliament, the Governor of Victoria and countless school children. It appears in the FoHH’s 1st education kit (Nov 1989).||The-Helmeted-Honeyeater-Song_Nov-1989.pdf|
|COMING SOON. More songs and musical activities!|
Our online puzzles feature three of our favourite Victorian Emblems: the Helmeted Honeyeater, the Leadbeater’s Possum and the Common (Pink) Heath, as well as the special place they live – Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve (YNCR). YNCR is the only place in the world that all 3 of these state emblems live in the same place.
Some very creative friends of the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater have shared their wonderful artwork and photos. What better way to enjoy these than by making some free, online puzzles for you to enjoy? We hope you like them.
Our tips: when you first open the puzzle you will see a number of icons in the centre of the screen. Click the OK button to start playing. You can also change the background colour and number of pieces here.
|This button lets you start the puzzle again, and choose the number of pieces used. We chose 40 pieces, but you could choose anywhere between 6 and 1080!!|
|Move your cursor over this button to see a picture of the completed jigsaw. Clicking on the button will place this small image under the puzzle pieces. Click once more to hide the picture again.|
|Find this free, online puzzle HERE. Year 3-6 Yellingbo Primary School students and David Williams joined forces to create this scene of our nursery, the old Rangers’ house (where we work and meet) and the natural world around us. What can you find living here? David was the artist of our children’s book ‘Hilton Hunts for a Home’.|
|Find this free, online puzzle HERE. Year 3-6 Yellingbo Primary School students and David Williams created this scene of the creek where the Helmeted Honeyeater and Leadbeater’s Possum live. What other animals can you see living here? Can you find some flowering plants? What are the people doing?|
|Find this free, online puzzle HERE. Helmeted Honeyeater’s often build their nests in this plant, the Scented Paperbark. It has prickly leaves and lots of them, making it hard for other animals to see or find their young. The flowers attract lots of insects, which is just what Helmeted Honeyeater parents need to feed their growing young. We plant lots of Scented Paperbark at Yellingbo to help create more habitat for them! Thank you to one of our volunteers, Stephen, for sharing this photo.|
|Find this free, online puzzle HERE. Is this one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen? Two Grey Fantail chicks almost fill this nest! They must be almost old enough to fledge (leave the nest) and start learning how to look after themselves. We love knowing that the habitat we are restoring for Helmeted Honeyeaters also helps these beautiful birds. You might see these birds in your garden or nearby park. Thank you to one of our volunteers, Bruce, for sharing this photo.|
|Find this free, online puzzle HERE. The Agile Antechinus is another really cute animal we see at Yellingbo. It’s not a house mouse or rat. It’s a native marsupial (their young develop in the mother’s pouch). Their name is a really good one. They are very agile, like this one who was doing tightrope walking along the fence that we are using to protect our habitat planting. How clever is that?! Thank you to one of our volunteers, Stephen, for sharing this photo.|
|Find this free, online puzzle HERE. one Helmeted Honeyeater chick has fledged (left the nest) and it’s waiting for his/her sibling to be brave enough to do that too! Helmeted Honeyeater chicks stay very close to each other when they leave the nest. Their parents stay close by too, keeping them safe. This is an illustration by David Williams from our first children’s book ‘Hilton the Helmeted Honeyeater’ (now out of print).|
|Keep watching for this one too… I love watching Eastern Yellow Robins. When I’m gardening at home and walking through my local park they often follow me. They’re looking for the insects that I disturb as I’m walking, and gobble them up! This one is doing a tightrope act like the Agile Antechinus 🙂 Thank you to one of our volunteers, Stephen, for sharing this photo.|
|COMING SOON. More puzzles!|
When we can’t go to school because of COVID lockdowns, it sometimes gets hard being inside at home so much. I loved doing these puzzles!
Thank you for sharing your artwork!
Helmeted Honeyeaters have inspired some creative work and it has inspired us! We love seeing what you have worked hard on that has a theme of the Helmeted Honeyeater or its habitat. Can we include a photo of your work on this Kids page?
It might be a poem, a drawing, a game, a mosaic, some pottery or a collage of natural materials. In fact, it could be anything! Check that it’s OK with your parents first, then email Sue with your attached photo (email@example.com) and hey presto, we’ll let you know when your photo is on this page and being shared with other kids 🙂
We have loved receiving work from …
|Amazing art from children attending an early learning centre – so creative! We love the way the early education teachers have created a habitat ‘nook’ that draws you in. Inspired teaching! It’s worth 2 pictures – don’t you think?!|
|Thea is 4, Emmeline and Frances are 7. They received a poster in the mail from Zoos Victoria (Friends of the Zoo members receive fabulous things!) and that’s all it took for them to create a wall of Helmeted Honeyeaters at home. Beautiful 🙂|
Montrose Primary School grade 3-6 students created Helmeted Honeyeaters and Leadbeater’s Possums that look like they could take flight or leap from tree to tree! Using collage, paper clay, water colours, plastic wrap or gel printed stencils, the work is delightful!
With thanks to the students’ visual arts teacher, Amanda Johnson, for sharing these images. We wish we could show you more!
|Grade 4 & 5 students at Bridgewood Primary School in Officer created paper collage Helmeted Honeyeaters inspired by Pete Cromer’s Australian Bird series. At FoHH, we love how the birds are the same, but different, just like the real thing! With thanks to their teacher, Elissa Faram, for sharing this image.|
|Lilydale Primary School students got busy with an assortment of collage materials including bark, icy pole sticks, feathers, pasta and black and yellow paint. Voile! Helmeted Honeyeaters!|
|Whilst learning about the natural materials birds need in their environment, Yellingbo Primary School students created Helmeted Honeyeaters on nests. Sadly, this school closed in recent years, however we can’t stop smiling when we see their great work! How many Helmeted Honeyeaters can you see?|
|Jaymi sent us a letter with a fabulous drawing of two Helmeted Honeyeaters. We loved receiving this. Thank you Jaymi.|
|COMING SOON. More shared artwork!|
I thought a friend’s daughter might like some of the Kids page activities. Yes, she did! I am sure other children will also enjoy them.
Some beautiful work from our students at Montrose Primary School! Collage Helmeted Honeyeaters and Leadbeater’s possums from grades 5 and 6 and paper clay from grades 3 and 4! We used water colours and plastic wrap to create the backgrounds in grades 5 and 6, and gel printed stencils of leaves in grade 3 and 4. They are displayed in our school for all to admire and the children are very proud of their efforts as I am!
Did you know? Here at the FoHH, we don’t just care about Helmeted Honeyeaters. In fact, we believe that every native plant, animal and fungus is really important. The natural world is like a puzzle. Every single piece of the puzzle is important.
Did you say fungus? Yes!! They’re an important part of our natural world too! These are some of our favourite plants, animals and fungus that share the same home as Helmeted Honeyeaters, but we have many, many more favourites too!! What’s your favourite?
We’re always looking for great activities and fun facts about the fabulous things in our natural world. If you find a fun fact about your favourite plant, animal or fungus, would you share it with us so we can include it here?
|Furry fact. The word koala is Aboriginal for ‘no drink’. Koalas get enough fluids through the eucalyptus leaves they feed off. For more fascinating facts on koalas and other Australian wildlife and plants, check out the Junior Rangers website, brought to you by our friends at Parks Victoria.|
|COMING SOON. More fun facts!|
Explore the natural world from indoors, or outside!
Colour in, play the games, complete the word search plus more! Put your thinking cap on and try out our activity sheets, or perhaps you’d rather put your shoes on and start exploring outside with some of these ideas. Either way, we hope you enjoy them!
|Take the a-z-challenge.|
|How many words can you create from endangered?|
Check out the Wildlife Colouring pages, featuring the Helmeted Honeyeater, Echidna, Wombat, Koala and Kangaroo, from Ginnie and Pinney. Thanks so much to Ginnie and Pinney for adding the Helmeted Honeyeater to their range of illustrations.
Add some feathers to the top of the Helmeted Honeyeater’s head to make its distinctive helmet. You could use feathers you find outside, or draw them on!
|Can you crack the code to find out why the Helmeted Honeyeater is a special bird?|
|Are you a whiz at searching a website? Take the quiz to find out. All the answers are on the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater website.|
|One of the best things you can do to help our native animals is provide them with a home. Grab a few important things and get to it! Find out the best way to plant habitat for animals.|
|You can be a wildlife detective in your own backyard or your favourite park.|
|Take a look at our Helmeted Honeyeater fact file and draw a picture or write a story or poem. Put it up on your fridge so everyone can see it!|
|Colour in, play the games, complete the word search plus more! Download the free Junior Rangers Victorian Emblems Activity Book. Find out about our state emblems, including the Helmeted Honeyeater – but what are the others? Can you guess?|
|There’s lots more ideas too – check out some of our favourites HERE.|
|COMING SOON. More ways to explore!|
Places to go. Things to see and do
Here at FoHH, we’re looking for free or minimal cost ways to go places and be outside with your family and friends. Here’s some we know about. Get in touch if you have a great place to go that others might like to know about too 🙂
|Come and join us at a free Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater event. Take a look at what’s coming up HERE. We’d love to see you, your family and friends!|
|Did you know that on weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian school holidays it’s free for kids under 16 years of age to visit Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo?! What a great way to get parents to take kids out to see animals! If you want to see a Helmeted Honeyeater, they are only on display at Healesville Sanctuary which specialises in Australian animals.|
|Our friends at Parks Victoria have some great things for kids and families to get involved in. Check them out HERE.|
|COMING SOON. More places to go and things to see and do!|
Droughts and floods. How do the plants and animals respond?
In the 10 years prior to 2010 we were in what was called the Millennium drought.
The creeks had been running low in spring/summer, with some of the smaller tributaries drying up completely over summer. Our plants (flora) and animals (fauna) certainly needed a reprieve from the dry conditions of the drought and once the rains came we had record breaking breeding years for the Helmeted Honeyeater and you could almost see the trees and shrubs take a sigh of relief.
Then the floods came.
We had a wet 15 months back in 2010-11 when our weather in Victoria was impacted by the aftermath of cyclone Yasi which devastated parts of Queensland. Ask an adult if they remember when bananas were way too expensive to buy except on special occasions. That was because of cyclone Yasi. It’s incredible to think that a cyclone in Queensland can cause a really big flooding event at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, but it did, pushing over plants and washing huge amounts of water and debris down the creeks. Every year we hope for some gentle flooding because the Reserve is a swampy area that should flood! Sometimes though, really big storm events and floods, like the one that happened in 2010-11 and again in June 2021, cause significant flooding.
Back in 2011, Jack and Sean really wanted to see what was on the other side of Beer’s Bridge on Woori Yallock Creek in Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. The flood waters were way too fast and strong to even think about crossing the bridge. It’s much too dangerous for kids and adults to do that! Usually 3-4 metres wide, the creek had broken the banks and flooded many of our low lying revegetation areas. The creek had swollen to up to 30 metres wide in places. It was incredible to think that just 45 mm of rain that day in the Dandenong Ranges could have this impact downstream, but it did! It felt good to see the rain after 10 years of drought in Victoria and other parts of Australia.
How do the plants and animals respond?
In the droughts, many animals don’t breed quite so well as a ‘normal’ year. There is often less food available to feed to their young, and themselves, so they might have less offspring, or sometimes none at all. The plants might flower and fruit less (food for animals).
In the big flooding events, tracks and fencing can be damaged and large trees can be pushed or blown over. Smaller plants can get flattened as the water rushes past them (over time, most stand upright again – it’s amazing how plants adapt!). Some Helmeted Honeyeaters who build their nests well above the water line can suddenly find they are in danger of flooding! When it floods, birds who are brooding their young (sitting on their nests, keeping their chicks warm and dry) work really hard to keep them safe. All through Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve it stays sodden and the water level in the creeks remains high for longer than we’d usually expect.
Floods and storms cause some challenging times for our habitat planting program, but we do like to see the creeks overflow their banks. It’s what they should do sometimes in Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, but it is much better for the plants and animals if these flooding events are gentle, not strong and hard.
In general, we have noticed that when there’s been high rainfall in autumn and winter, the Helmeted Honeyeaters breeding season lasts longer and they have more young than in dry years.
What will the years ahead bring? More drought? More floods? We expect a bit of both!
You can be a scientist.
BTW, did you know that often scientists call plants flora and they call animals fauna? You can be a scientist too and use these words sometimes 🙂