Educating schools on poisonous weeds

Educating schools on poisonous weeds

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The Serpentine Jarrahdale Men’s Shed and the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group are in talks about the properties of the cotton bush and educating students about it.

The Serpentine Jarrahdale Men’s Shed and Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group have teamed up to work on the Cotton Bush plant project, aimed at educating schools about weeds and their effects on rural land.

No date has yet been set for the launch of the project but Serpentine Jarrahdale Men’s Shed president Bob Hollingsworth said the first stage will be seeking expressions of interest from schools to become involved.

“At least five schools will be chosen to pilot the education program in the latter half of 2017,” he said.

“The second stage will see the roll out of the education program to schools across the region.”

Mr Hollingsworth said the men’s shed was approached by the biosecurity group to lend a collective expertise to help find a solution for displaying cotton bush specimens safely in the classroom.

“Plant specimens are a useful learning resource,” he said.

“In the case of the cotton bush being able to actually see the reproductive parts of the plant is critical in understanding the plant’s invasive potential via both wind and water.

“However the cotton bush plant contains a white sap that is a skin irritant and is poisonous if ingested.”

Mr Hollingsworth said the men’s shed was experimenting with a range of fabrication techniques to overcome the safety issue and offer a high-quality education resource.