Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Lord Howe Island did not contain any predators until humans introduced animals such as pigs, cats, owls and rodents. Almost all of these invasive species have now been eradicated, but these eradication programs were not without their challenges.

In this lesson, students will use Lord Howe Island’s rodent eradication program as a case study of the positive impact a successfully conducted program in combination with a sense of community stewardship can have on a native environment and local flora and fauna, whilst also considering the challenges of implementing such programs when they are not initially community-led.

They will then form groups to research an introduced species and a potential eradication program, then design informative posters to convince community members to get involved in the eradication measures.

These lessons were made possible with thanks to Joshua Yeldham.

Cool Australia also wishes to recognise Ian Hutton. Ian is a trained biologist, amongst many other skills, and has been living on Lord Howe Island since 1980. He is the author of 11 books on Lord Howe Island, including the most recent 264 page beautiful coffee table book on the World Heritage values of Lord Howe Island, contributed to some 60 papers and articles working with scientists across numerous fields, run a number of conservation and research project, and has been employed as a location guide for film documentary projects. If you are visiting Lord Howe Island, get in touch with Ian for a private guided tour, as he is keen to share his passion for the island and its environment.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand the importance of controlling or eradicating introduced species
  • Students will understand the importance of community-led programs and stewardship, including the challenges or opposition to externally led programs.

21st century skills:

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCritical ThinkingEmpathyLeadershipSocial SkillsProblem SolvingTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 8 Geography:

  • Human causes and effects of landscape degradation (ACHGK051)
  • Ways of protecting significant landscapes (ACHGK052)
  • Evaluate sources for their reliability and usefulness and select, collect and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS056)
  • Present findings, arguments and ideas in a range of communication forms selected to suit a particular audience and purpose; using geographical terminology and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS061)
  • Reflect on their learning to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social considerations, and predict the expected outcomes of their proposal (ACHGS062)

Year 10 Science:

  • The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of living things and is supported by a range of scientific evidence (ACSSU185)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS208)

Syllabus outcomes: GE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-5, GE4-7, GE4-8, SC5-14LW, SC5-9WS

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 8 Geography achievement standards: 

Students explain geographical processes that influence the characteristics of places and explain how places are perceived and valued differently. They explain interconnections within environments and between people and places and explain how they change places and environments. They compare alternative strategies to a geographical challenge, taking into account environmental, economic and social factors. Students evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources to locate useful and reliable information and data. Students present findings, arguments and ideas using relevant geographical terminology and digital technologies in a range of appropriate communication forms. They propose action in response to a geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social factors, and predict the outcomes of their proposal.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: 

Students evaluate the evidence for scientific theories that explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of life on Earth. They explain the processes that underpin heredity and evolution. They construct evidence-based arguments and select appropriate representations and text types to communicate science ideas for specific purposes.

Topic: Biodiversity.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Lord Howe Island – Years 8 & 10.

Time required: 70 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion, supervise group work.

Resources required:

Keywords: Evolution, speciation, adaptation, natural selection, introduced species, Lord Howe Island, habitats, environmentalism, conservatorship.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ... understand the importance of community-led programs and stewardship
  • ... understand the reasons why community members might oppose an externally led program

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... interpret a case study and explain how a rodent eradication program was implemented in an island community
  • ... explain why introduced species need to be controlled or eradicated
  • ... propose reasons why community stewardship is important for the success of eradication programs
  • ... recruit community members to join their local eradication program by designing an informative poster.

Teacher content information:
Lord Howe Island is approximately 600km east of Port Macquarie in NSW. It is a World Heritage site with high biodiversity, including seabird nesting sites, flightless birds such as the Lord Howe Woodhen, and the world’s rarest insect, the Lord Howe Island Phasmid. Approximately 75% of Lord Howe Island’s or

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Communities must feel stewardship, a sense of ownership over their local environment. Problems can be solved by together defining the problem, determining solutions, planning to overcome barriers to implementing the solution, then measuring success once the solution has been implemented.

For this task, you will be required to design a communication piece, such as a poster or infographic, to recruit and inform community members about their eradication program. Canva has many templates that can be useful when presenting information.

The communication piece should include:

  • What factors make the island’s ecosystems worth preserving (For example: aesthetics, tourism, endangered species)
  • How the introduced species negatively impacts those factors.
  • Why it is so important the community is involved in the eradication.
  • What skills and knowledge the community members can bring to the program.
  • A meeting time and place for the community to help develop the program (Co
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