Merri Creek Management Committee offers an activity called Volcanoes Rock! to teach students about the history of our landscape in northern Melbourne and how it became so rocky.
Students are taught that hot lava once flowed through the area and that the surrounding basalt rock is the remains of the ancient lava flow. They are also taught that the hills in the north of the Merri Catchment—Mount Ridley, Bald Hill and Mount Fraser—are actually inactive volcanoes.
Volcanoes Rock! was developed as a part of the Natural Heritage Trust funded Northern Nature Creek Connections project. The project supported communities caring for the environment of the Moonee Ponds, Merri and Darebin Creeks and the special ecological communities associated with this eastern-most part of the Victorian Volcanic Plains bioregion.
Volcanoes Rock! educates students as they walk through the grasslands and into the creek valley, bringing attention to ‘air bubbles’ that formed in the cooling lava, which is now basalt rocks. In some areas, such as Clifton Hill, students are able to see first hand how the Merri Creek has slowly ‘cut’ into the lava over millions of years, exposing the rocky escarpments which today forms perfect habitat for insects, small animals and birds of prey.
Photo: After the talking tour students get an opportunity to travel five million years back in time, creating a lava flow of their own using model volcanoes.
Post Burn on a Volcanic Plain
Tertiary students from Northern Melbourne Institute of Tafe (NMIT) visited Central Creek Grassland in Reservoir after an ecological burn had been conducted by Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) staff. MCMC offers this program to tertiary students undertaking a conservation focussed course.
The students discovered that we conduct these ecological burns for many reasons - weed management, to regenerate indigenous flora and to reduce the risk of wildfire. These conservation students discussed the issues of burning in an urban environment. Then by looking at past burning strategies they planned the burns for the next 2 years. Find out more.