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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.

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 sturdy footwear and protection from the sun/rain.

Maximum number of students for this program is 50 per day.

Learning Intentions

In this activity students will:

  • Define grassland and grassy woodland ecosystem, herbivore, omnivore, carnivore and endangered species.
  • Identify endangered species of the Western Volcanic Plains grasslands.
  • Outline threats to the endangered species.
  • Conduct a scavenger hunt at Mt Rothwell in the grassy woodland and explore what makes up the ecosystem.


Activities at Ecolinc:

  • Introduction
  • Workshop 1: Introduction to the Western Volcanic Plain using the Volcano Dreaming panels.
  • Workshop 2: Footprints Amazing Race – explores endangered species in the Western Volcanic Plains.

Activities at Mt Rothwell:

  • Workshop 3: Scavenger hunt – explores the grassy woodland.
  • Workshop 4: Insect hunt – find insects in the grassy woodland and discuss 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)

Achievement Standard:

  • Students will understand that living things can be affected by changes in their physical environment.