Information

• Thank you for choosing to use the iAuditor template to complete your school biodiversity audit. This template has been developed by Goulburn Valley Water using the LandLearn/Greening Australia tool.

Audits must be completed each year as part of the ResourceSmart Biodiversity module actions A1.1 and Core module A1.3. There are a number of other actions the audit checks off across all modules. These actions are listed below the section of the biodiversity audit they relate to.

To complete this audit you will need:
Calculator
Different coloured pens
Clip board
Digital camera
Trundle wheel (optional)
Aerial photograph of school grounds with 1cm grid
Sun/rain protection
Field guide to native plants/weeds (optional)

On the school map with grid create a key like the one below:
B = built structures
H = hard surfaces
N = native grass
E = exotic grass
NG = native garden
EG = exotic garden
V = vegetable garden
P = playground with organic ground cover
M = mulch
U = understory vegetation

## Audit Details

• School Name

• Date

• Auditors

• School Sign

School Area

• School Area

Area of School Grounds

• Determine the size of the school in hectares using 1 or 2 methods

• Area of the school in square metres using the Daft Logic Program

## Trundle Wheel

• Length by Width

## Area in hectares

• Divide square metres by 10,000

School Map with Grid

• School Map with Grid

Surfaces in School Grounds

• Complete this section using an aerial map of the school divided into squares of 1cm square.
1. Use the map to calculate the percentage of each category of surface.
2. Count the squares for each surface at ground level.
3. The percentages of the surfaces should add up to 100%.
4. Where there are tree canopies, assign the category of surface under the canopy.

## Number and size of squares

• Number of squares covering the school grounds

• Area of one square Area in square metres / number of squares

## Built Structures

• Number of squares covered by Built Structures

• Percentage cover of Built Structures Squares covered X 100 / total squares

• Photo of buildings

## Hard Impermeable Surfaces

• Number of squares covering Hard Impermeable Surfaces

• Percentage cover of Hard Impermeable Surfaces Squares covered X 100 / total squares

## Soft Surfaces - Native Grass Cover (What is at ground level)

• Number of squares covered by NATIVE grasses

• Percentage of school grounds covered by native grasses Squares covered X 100 / total squares

• Photo of native grasses

## Soft Surfaces - Exotic Grass Cover (What is at ground level)

• Number of squares covered by EXOTIC grasses

• Percentage cover of EXOTIC grasses Squares covered X 100 / total squares

## Soft Surfaces - Garden beds containing Indigenous and Native Small Trees ( < 5 metres) and Shrubs Waste A4.4 Water A4.2

• No of squares covered by garden beds with NATIVE small trees and shrubs

• Percentage cover of Native small trees and shrubs Squares covered X 100 / total squares

• Photo of native garden beds

## Soft Surfaces - Garden beds with Exotic Tree and Shrub cover

• Number of squares covered by garden beds with Exotic Trees and Shrubs

• Percentage cover of Exotic Trees and Shrubs Squares covered X 100 / total squares

• Photo of exotic gardens

## Soft Surfaces - Vegetable Gardens and fruit trees Biodiversity A4.1

• No of squares covered by Veggie Gardens and fruit trees

• Percentage cover of Veggie Gardens and fruit trees Squares covered X 100 / total squares

• Photos of veggie gardens and fruit trees

## Soft Surfaces - Playgrounds (covered by sand or mulch)

• Number of squares covered by playgrounds with organic substrate.

• Percentage of school ground area covered by playgrounds with organic substrate. Squares covered X 100 / total squares

Tree Measurements

• Large Trees

Trees (including those that are dead) are an important component of an ecosystem as they provide food, shelter, and nesting space for many animals.

Large trees often provide better habitat as they contain more hollows than small trees, however these hollows can take up to 120 years to form! Because they are old, large trees are difficult to replace. Nesting boxes provide suitable alternative nesting spaces for birds and animals if there are not any large trees with hollows in your study area.

All trees greater than 5 metres high are considered Habitat Trees.

## Total Number of Trees

• Number of NATIVE trees ( >5 metres) in the school grounds

• Number of NON-NATIVE trees (> 5 metres) in the school grounds

• Total number of trees (> 5 metres) in the school grounds

• Number of trees per hectare in the school grounds (Native plus Non-native)

## Habitat Trees

• A Habitat tree provides nesting places for animals. They may contain hollows, nests or nesting boxes. Habitat trees also provide food for birds and homes for insects.

• Photo of nest, nest box, hollow or other evidence of animals (eg. Droppings. Scratch marks)

• Number of NATIVE habitat trees in the school grounds

• Number of NON-NATIVE habitat trees in the school grounds

• Number of habitat trees per hectare in the school grounds (native plus non-native)

• Number of NATIVE habitat trees per hectare in the school grounds

• Trees Identified

• Photograph of Large Trees

## Tree Habitat Score

• Large Tree Score and Ranking

• NATIVE Habitat Trees Score and Ranking

## Action Plan

• Priority for Improvement (Number of Trees)

Opportunities for Improvement

• Priority for Improvement (Number of Habitat Trees)

Opportunities for Improvement

• Number of trees planted within the school grounds in the last 12 months.

• Number of trees planted outside the school grounds in the last 12 months.

Understory and Vegetation Structure

• Complete this section using a school map with grid overlay.

• Vegetation can be classified into 3 separate layers: Overstorey (plants greater than 5m tall); Understorey (plants between 5m – 0.5 m); and the Herb layer (non-woody plants less than 0.5m in height).

The greatest richness of plant species at a site will almost always be found in the understorey and herb layer level of an ecosystem. These plants are important because they provide a food source, shelter and create suitable conditions for larger plants to grow in (eg. shelter, shade and maintenance of soil moisture and nutrients).

Understory can be found in formal garden beds or within cleared and mowed areas or uncleared mowed bushy areas.

To calculate the area of understory, count the number of squares covered by canopies of the small trees and shrubs, and any formal garden beds that contain understory (plants between 0 and 5 metres).

## Vegetation Layers

• Overstory trees (>5 m)

• Overstory trees (<5 m)

• Understory - Shrub (1 - 5m)

• Understory - Small shrub ( < 1m)

• Understory - Scrambler/climber

• Understory - Tall grass ( > 1m)

• Herb layer - Fern

• Herb layer - Native grasses ( < 0.5m)

• Herb layer - Orchid

• Herb layer - Moss/lichen

• Herb layer - Other

## Understory and other plants identified

• Non-native / Ornamental

• Planters

• Native Waste A4.4 Water A4.2

• Herbs

• Vegetables Biodiversity A4.1

## Understory Habitat Score

• Number of understory boxes shaded (Plants between 0.5m and 5m)

• Percentage cover of understory = Number of understory boxes shaded x 100/Number of boxes covering the school ground

• Understory Score and Ranking

## Action Plan

• Priority for Improvement

• Are native, drought tolerant species planted wherever possible? Please detail if yes. Biodiversity A2.6 Water A4.2 Waste A4.4

• General Suggestions:

Short term (this year): Plant native understorey plants, protect areas planted with understorey plants from trampling and damage.

Long term (next 5 years): Set up native plant propagation and a green house within the school to grow your own plants.

Environmental Weeds

• Weeds are plants that grow in an area where they are not wanted. They are usually exotic species (however can also include native Australian species) and can compete with and limit the growth of indigenous plants. Weeds impact on native insects, birds and animals as they reduce the food source that indigenous plants provide.

Environmental weeds are plants that threaten natural ecosystems. They can invade native areas and out-compete the plants, resulting in a reduction of plant diversity and loss of habitat for native animals.

## Environmental Weeds

• Are there weeds in the grassed areas

• Are there weeds in the formal garden beds

• Has action been taken to identify or remove weeds

• Weeds Identified

• Environmental Weeds Score and Ranking

## Action Plan

• Priority for Improvement

• General Suggestions

Short term (this year): Identify the environmental weeds in the study area, remove them or take action to ensure they do not spread. Weed control techniques include: hand weeding, slashing/mowing/seed head removal, ringbarking of weedy tree species, laying old carpet or black plastic over weed infested areas for a few weeks or months, burning, or use of herbicide (herbicides are dangerous chemicals and appropriate safety precautions must be taken when using these).

Long term (next 5 years): Regularly monitor the study area to ensure that weeds do not start
growing accidentally or are planted.

Organic Litter

• This section completed using school map with grid.

• Organic litter is important because it provides habitat and a food source for many creatures such as insects, spiders and small reptiles. It also breaks down to provide soil nutrients, influences the soil microclimate (that is the temperature, moisture level, structure and composition) and influences which plants can grow where.

Organic litter includes things such as fallen leaves, twigs, tan bark, mulch and small branches less than 30 cm in circumference.

## Organic Litter

• Number of boxes in school map that have garden beds

• Percentage Cover of Organic Litter in garden beds Biodiversity A4.2 Water A4.1

• Number of boxes that have garden beds covered in organic litter. Provide evidence. Biodiversity A4.2 Water A4.1

• Is garden waste composted, mulched or chipped?
Biodiversity A4.3
Waste A4.2

• Percentage Cover of Organic Litter in garden beds Biodiversity A4.2 Water A4.1

• Organic Litter Score and Ranking

## Action Plan

• Priority for Improvement

• General Suggestions

Short term (this year) and Long term (next 5 years): Avoid excess tidying of remnant vegetation areas and retain all organic litter for habitat, maintain the health of trees by undertaking Landcare activities addressing local land degradation issues such as salinity, erosion, water quality, weeds and insect attack.

## Litter (rubbish)

• Are litter assessments regularly undertaken at the school? If yes, please provide evidence. Biodiversity A4.2 Waste A1.2, A2.1, A7, B1.4, B1.7

Logs and Rocks

• Logs
Logs, whether small, large or rotting provide perfect shelter and nesting places for a range of different animals including echidnas, reptiles, spiders and insects. Logs also provide a food source for insect eating birds that forage around fallen logs and are an important habitat for frogs as they retain moisture.

Unfortunately, people often remove fallen logs from their property or from the bush for firewood – reducing the amount of habitat available for these species. Logs, whether small, large or rotting, provide shelter and nesting places for a range of different animals including echidnas, reptiles, spiders and insects. Logs also provide a food source for insect eating birds that forage around fallen logs. They are an important habitat for frogs as they retain moisture.

## Logs & Rocks Biodiversity A3.3

• Number of logs and rocks in the school grounds

• Number of logs and rocks / hectare

• Logs and Rocks Score and Ranking

## Action Plan

• Priority for Improvement

• General Suggestions

Short term (this year) and Long term (next 5 years):
1. Do not collect firewood from the area;
2. Place signs up explaining why;
3. Avoid excess tidying and introduce logs to the area
4. Do not collect logs from other bushland areas;
5. Use logs that have fallen in gardens at school or at home.

Soil

• Soil within the school ground can be managed by reducing soil erosion and compaction, limiting the use of pesticides and chemicals and mulching garden beds to return nutrients to the soil and retain water moisture.

## Soil Management Biodiversity A3.1

• Erosion in the school ground

• Compaction in the school ground

• Pesticide use in the school ground

• Mulching of garden beds
Water A4.1

• Management strategies in place to manage soil (e.g. Fenced areas, planting to reduce erosion etc)

• Are environmentally sensitive soil and stormwater management practices established?
Biodiversity A3.1

• Soil Management Score and Rating

## Action Plan

• Priority for Improvement

• General Suggestions

Habitat Extras

• Although natural areas such as parks and reserves provide best quality habitat for biodiversity, built environments such as schools, also play an important role. They provide a source of food, shelter, nesting space and corridors from one area to another.

Please include photographs of all habitat extras present.

## Habitat Extras

• Composting Area
Waste A4.2
Water A4.1
Biodiversity A4.3

• Vegetable Garden and/or Orchard
Biodiversity A4.1

• Herb garden or herbs in pots
Biodiversity A4.1

• Indigenous food garden

• Hydroponics to grow vegetables
Biodiversity A4.1

• Propagation table

• Indigenous plants naturally or artificially propagating

• Worm Farm
Waste A4.2

• Chooks
Biodiversity A4.1

• Lizard Lounge
Biodiversity A3.3

• Plants and/or Animals in the Classroom

• Frog Pond/Bog or Wetland
Biodiversity A3.3

• Bird Bath

• Rain garden
Biodiversity A3.4

• Plants in the school yard identified and labelled

• List of animals/fauna in school grounds maintained
Biodiversity A1.3

• Tree hollows present in habitat trees

• Nesting Boxes

• Evidence of animals in the school grounds (eg. wombat holes and possum scratch marks on tree trunks)

• Garden furniture

• Plan or Activities organised to decrease rubbish in the school grounds/designated eating areas.
Biodiversity A5.2

• Rubbish in bins secure

• Remnant vegetation fenced.
Biodiversity A3.2

• Limited spraying of chemicals in school grounds

• Fallen branches and leaf litter retained in garden beds

• Recycled or tank water used to irrigate garden beds
Water A4.6, A4.7, A4.9

• Biodiversity actively promoted in school

• Habitat Extras Ranking and Score

• Priority for Improvements

• Other

## Action Plan

• Suggestions:

Look down the list of extras and introduce new biodiversity activities to lift extras score.

Biodiversity Index

• Number of trees per hectare
Maximum score is 10

• Number of habitat trees per hectare
Maximum score is 10

• Understory and vegetation structure
Maximum score is 25

• Environmental weeds
Maximum score is 15

• Organic litter
Maximum score is 10

• Logs and rocks
Maximum score is 5

• Soil management
Maximum score is 5

• Habitat extras
Maximum score is 20

• School Habitat Score

References

## References

Photograph Refence Library