Education Hub

Lesson Plans

Here is a great 40-minute lesson plan to teach kids about all the life that's in and on a tree.

Lesson Plan - Life of a tree (4-page PDF download)

Invertebrate Guide (14-page PDF download)

Backyard Bug Guide (4-page PDF download)

NSW Bird Guide (2-page PDF download)

Insect Observation Sheet (1-page PDF download)

Australian Plant Lists

New South Wales Plant List (8-page PDF download)

Queensland Plant List (7-page PDF download)

Victoria Plant List (9-page PDF download)

South Australia

Tasmania

Western Australia

Butterflies and insect attracting tips

Want some quick, easy steps to bring butterflies to your outdoor space? Download our info sheet

Australia has around 400 species of butterflies, but how do you attract these beauties to your garden?

1. Butterflies love the sun, so if your garden is shady give it a prune.

2. Butterflies are looking for a sugar hit, so plant nectar rich flowers such as flannel flowers, kangaroo paw, bottlebrush, banksia, eucalypt, tea trees, wattle and angophoras.

3. Plant native violets to attract larvae.

4. Place a shallow dish of muddy water so butterflies can gain essential salts.

5. Place flat rocks for butterfly sun baking.

6. Avoid using pesticides.

Insects play an important role in pollution, so encouraging them to your garden or outdoor space means you are helping our environment. According to the Australian Museum, 65% of all flowering plants and some seed plants require insects for pollination. Insects are also a food source for our birds, lizards, frogs and spiders.
Insects lay eggs on plant leaves, under groundcover, bark, leaf litter and fallen branches.
They will also lay eggs in aquatic plants. Leaf litter, bark and mulch are also home to ground level bugs and they help retain carbon and moisture in the soil.
Many gardeners prefer to allow leaves to decompose naturally, rather than rake or sweep them but if this is not your gardening style or leaves create a safety issue, then raking into piles is a great way to create nesting spots.
With a bit of care your native plants will look bushy and glorious.
1. Water your new plants at least until they are well established, and also when they are coming into bloom (so they don’t drop their flowers). Depending on your climate, we recommend every day for the first two to three weeks. Otherwise, be guided by the plants themselves.
2. Most native plants have evolved in soils that are low in phosphorus, so if you regularly give them a powerful fertiliser like chicken manure, they could keel over! Use fertilisers designed for Australian plants, or well-rotted cow manure, and you can’t go wrong.
3. Prune! Prune! Prune! Pruning will keep your native plants looking bushy and vigorous, and encourage many more flowers – without it, they might end up looking straggly. As a general rule, prune straight after flowering. Cut behind the spent flower stems, and about one third of the current year’s growth. If the seeds will provide food for wildlife, then prune after most of the seeds have gone.
1. For New South Wales/ACT. Coastal Tea Tree - grows up to 5 m. This attractive shrub with soft, grey-green foliage and delicate white flowers will bring the garden alive with a hub of insect activity. Its tolerance of drought and salt make it an excellent coastal windbreak. It can also cope with light frosts.
2. For Queensland. Lime Berry - grows up to 8 m. It's the berries that make this plant spectacular, ripening from green to a dazzling red. As they frequently ripen at different times on the same plant you often see reds, yellows, oranges and green berries all at the same time, creating a colourful addition to the garden. Full Sun/Part Shade position.
3.For Victoria. Hop Wattle - grows 3 m to 6m. A fast growing wattle that produces masses of yellow flowers in spring, followed by abundant seeds. Its foliage is also used for roosting and nesting materials for wildlife. Full Sun/Part Shade.
4. For Tasmania. Blueberry Tree - grows up to 6m. A hardy and easy to grow shrub or small tree. It tolerates a range of conditions including wind, salt and drought. Its thick green leaves and dense form make it an ideal choice if you are after a fast growing hedge or wind-break. As a bonus it has attractive small white flowers from spring to autumn, followed by bright purple fruit.
5. For South Australia. Native Apricot - grows up 5m to 10m. This shrub has stunningly vibrant fruit, weeping leaves and sweetly scented cream flowers in spring. Our native animals love it too! It is slow growing but very long lived and extremely hardy. Full Sun - Part Shade position.
6. For Western Australia. Grass-Leaf Hakea - grows up to 4m. This large upright shrub has, as the name suggests, grass-like grey-green foliage, which contrast incredibly well with the attention-seeking, bright-pink or cream flower spikes. Like most hakeas it grows best in well-drained soil. Moderately frost tolerant.
7. For the Northern Territory. Freshwater Mangrove - grows 3m to 5m. Offers a low spreading canopy. Has red flowers followed by winged fruit.
8. Banksia - 173 species across Australia. Banksias usually grow best in well drained soils in a sunny position. From 3 m through to 25 m. The flower-heads of banksias are packed with nectar, and the shrubs themselves provide useful shelter, nesting materials and insects.
9. Acacias - Acacia range from prostrate and low-growing species to larger shrubs and shade trees. They are great pollen sources, and their seeds are an important source of food for birds. However, some are considered invasive in some States, so check local regulations.
10. Bush Christmas Lilly Pilly. Grows 4m to 6m. Likes part sun and shade. Has glossy leaves and produces white powder puff flowers followed by fruit. The fruit is a great food source for birds and can be made into jams/jellies.
Have you thought about using an Australian native as your Christmas tree?
Trees to consider:
** Black Cypress Pine
** Black She-oak
** Blueberry Ash
** Norfolk Pine
** South Esk Pine
** The Pine -Leaved Geebung
** Wollemi Pine
** Woolly Bush