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Exploring Wetland Ecosystems - Serendip Sanctuary

Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels


A wetland is an ecosystem that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and includes swamps, marshes, flood plains, lakes and bogs. The water itself can be either saltwater, freshwater or brackish. 
Wetland water is rich in nutrients, attracting and sustaining many different types of plants and animals, including invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. Wetlands are unique ecosystems that provide food and water, habitat and breeding grounds and places to shelter during drought. 
Ecolinc has a man-made wetland, which was built to remove harmful pollutants in stormwater before they reach the Werribee River. The Ecolinc wetland is a valuable ecosystem which supports invertebrates, birds, reptiles, and frogs including the endangered Growling Grass Frog. 
Serendip Sanctuary has a man-made wetland derived from bore water and a larger lake which relies on rainfall and runoff. These wetland ecosystems support 150 species of birds who use the wetlands as breeding sites or visit the wetlands periodically. Some of the wetland bird species include Brolgas, Magpie Geese, Coots, Ducks, Stilts and Yellow-billed Spoonbills.
  • Maximum number of students for this program is 50 per day.
  • This program starts at Serendip Sanctuary at 9.30am. Buses will need to stay at Serendip for the duration of the program. At Serendip, students will tour the wetlands. In the afternoon, students will travel to Ecolinc in Bacchus Marsh and undertake activities at the Centre. 
  • Students will need to bring appropriate clothing according to the time of year and weather forecast.  This includes solid footwear as well as sunscreen and hat (spring/summer), waterproof coat and hat (autumn & winter).

Key Learning Question

How are wetland organisms connected in a food web?

Learning Intentions

In this activity students will:

  • Learn how organisms are connected through the wetland food web
  • Learn how small changes in the food web may have large scale effects.


The students will:

  • Explore the Serendip Sanctuary wetlands and the Ecolinc wetland
  • Identify wetland organisms using Stereo microscopes in the laboratory
  • Describe how wetland organisms are connected through the food web
  • Describe the cause and effect of adding and removing organisms in a food web.

Victorian Curriculum

  • Interactions between organisms can be described in terms of food chains and food webs and can be affected by human activity  (VCSSU093)
  • Water is an important resource that cycles through the environment (VCSSU101)
  • Ways that flows of water connect places as they move through the environment and the ways this affects places (VCGGK106)