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Footprints of the Western Volcanic Plains (Mount Rothwell)

Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels
Field Trip


Students will explore the Western Volcanic Plains by emerging themselves in a grassland and grassy woodland. The Western Volcanic Plains are the third largest volcanic plains in the world.  The volcanic plains extend 350 km west from Melbourne, almost to the border of South Australia, forming a belt roughly 100 km wide and covering approximately 20,000 square kilometres. The gently undulating plains are formed of lava flows up to 60 m thick, and are studded with volcanic hills. There are a range of soil types reflecting the age and degree of weathering of the lava flows.
The animals that live in the grasslands of the Western Volcanic Plains include both vertebrates and invertebrates. Vertebrates include amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. Many grassland animals have developed adaptations, which enable them to live only in grassland ecosystems.  Many grassland and grassy woodland animals and plants of the Western Volcanic Plains are endangered due to various threatening processes.
  • Maximum number of students for this program is 50 per day.
  • This program is conducted at Ecolinc and Mt Rothwell. Your bus will need to arrive at Ecolinc at 10am, and the bus will need to stay onsite to transport students to the Mt Rothwell. The program will conclude at 2.30pm from Mt Rothwell.
  • Students will need to bring appropriate clothing according to the time of year and forecast.  This includes solid footwear as well as sunscreen and hat (spring/summer), waterproof coat and hat (autumn & winter).

Learning Intentions

In this activity students will:

  • Define the terms ecosystem, herbivore, omnivore, carnivore and endangered species
  • Learn about threats to the endangered species
  • Understand the living and non-living components of a grassland and grassy woodland ecosystem.


Activities at Ecolinc:

  • Introduction to the Western Volcanic Plain using the Volcano Dreaming panels
  • Footprints Amazing Race – explores endangered species in the Western Volcanic Plains.

Activities at Mt Rothwell:

  • Scavenger hunt, which explores the living and non-living components of the grassy woodland ecosystem
  • Invertebrate sampling in the grassy woodland ecosystem and discussion about their importance in the food web. 

Victorian Curriculum

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)