Poor Possum

Purpose: 
To highlight the importance of hollows for habitat conservation based on a variation of the game Musical Chairs.
How it works: 

This game is based on musical chairs.

Ask students to form into groups of three. Two members of the group face each other and join hands to represent a hollow tree. The other member represents a hollow dwelling animal.

Participants name which animal they represent - one that uses hollows at some stage of its life. When the leader calls “All change”, all the ‘animals’ must change trees.

Introduce the woodcutter whose role is to cut down some of the trees. These ‘trees’ go to the wood pile. This means some ‘animals’ are left without ‘trees’.

“All change” is called again and there is a mad scramble, but always there are ‘animals’ left without ‘trees’. Gradually all the ‘trees’ are cut down and all the animals are left without homes.

Summarise that this game illustrates the importance of undisturbed habitats and the need to conserve some areas of old growth forests. You may wish to introduce the problems associated with the time lag of hollow formation.

What you'll need: 
Optional: toy chainsaw and hardhat
Variations: 
1 - At a relevant stage in the game, create shelter boxes from the wood pile.
2 - Introduce one or more feral predators to further disrupt the natural ecology. ‘Possums’ etc. that are tagged (killed) by the predators can lie down where tagged to create further obstacles. Use of this variation will depend on the available area and light, and the group size and behaviour.
Group size: 
20+