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New life for native fish at Holbrook school

Holbrook Public School welcomed some new members to the school community on 22nd July when five Southern pygmy perch native fish arrived to live in a tank in the classroom.  These little fish are a threatened species, so they are very rare, but they are found in some special creeks around Holbrook.

The live display of Southern Pygmy Perch is the result of a partnership of Murray Local Land Services, the school, NSW DPI Fisheries, the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme, Holbrook Landcare and the Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre at Burrumbuttock. It is part of a larger project to improve the habitat for these tiny fish in Coppabella Creek and the Upper Billabong Creek where they still occur naturally.

The schools have been given a tank fitted out to suit these little fish with snags and aquatic plants, and supplied with the right food, so the children can feed and look after their new fishy friends. The fish have been bred in captivity so they are suitable for being housed in a tank. The students will have support from Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre who also have a tank of these fish and conduct the Creative Catchment Kids environmental education program at Holbrook Public School.

The visitors were welcomed to Holbrook school by students Maggie Jamieson, Jade Hunt, Ellen Mathie, Ben Klose and Michael Walters and their teacher, Kim Peterson. The fish were then launched into their tank by native fish specialist, Luke Pearce who gave a talk about why these fish are special and how they fit into the local landscape around Holbrook and Tumbarumba. Then the students were presented with books written by students at Edward Public School in Deniliquin and Walla Walla Public School about Southern pygmy perch, as part of the Creative Catchment Kids program.

Holbrook Primary teacher, Kim Peterson said that the students had been looking forward to receiving their fish and the school was very grateful to be given the fish and learn from the scientists about these native fish.

"It's a great way for the students to learn in a hands-on way about native fish and their role in the local environment.

"It captures their interest in a very practical way and helps them to realise that they too can play a part in looking after our local environment.,

"The fish are already settling into their new home and being well looked after", she added.

Involving the school in the Southern pygmy perch project is also part of the education program conducted by Murray LLS through its Creative Catchment Kids program which has been operating at Holbrook Public for over 3 years.

More information

Juliet Cullen, Murray LLS, p: 02 6051 2252, e: juliet.cullen@lls.nsw.gov.au

Tara Pitman, Murray LLS, p: 02 6051 2250, e: tara.pitman@lls.nsw.gov.au