Dogs may seem like unusual guardians for endangered and vulnerable animals, but Maremmas and other breeds are currently being trained to protect species that are at risk of predation and/or extinction.

For this ‘STEAM Ahead’ virtual conference, students will participate in a virtual excursion to Middle Island in Warrnambool and workshops to learn more about the Maremma Penguin Project and how animals are protecting animals.

High ability students and students with a passion for the environment are encouraged to join Ecolinc in a virtual conference, as we explore the film Oddball and learn about the impact introduced species have on native animals, and about the management strategies, such as the use of guardian dogs, that are being used to protect these vulnerable species.

Date: Tuesday 8th March 2022
Time: 9am – 3pm
Year Level: 3-6
Venue: Video Conference
Maximum number per school: 20

Please Email Ecolinc at:

Prior to event: Students watch the film ‘Oddball’
9:00am: Schools connect in via WEBEX. Introduction
9:15am: Guest Speakers:
10:15am: Morning Tea
10:45am: Breakout Room Workshop Session 1:

(Students will take part in one of the following workshops.)
a) Penguin Pad
The Little Penguin is threatened by predators like the European Fox. Considering all the design elements, your task will be to design the perfect ‘penguin pad’ to protect the species.

b) Animals Protecting Animals Game
Oddball protects the little penguin on Middle Island, but do you think he is the only animal that protects animals? Play Animals Protecting Animals and learn about animals which might play a part in defending other species at the same time.

11:50am: Film-making Masterclass – Film-making secrets behind Oddball
Presented by Susan Bye from ACMI
Oddball is an entertaining feature film that tells an inspiring story about taking action to protect the environment. After discovering some of the film-making secrets behind Oddball, students will develop and pitch their own concept for an environmental film
1:00pm: Lunch
1:30pm: Breakout Room Workshop Session 2:
Students will undertake the workshop they did not do in session 1.
2:30pm: Conclusion and wrap up
3:00pm: Conference concludes.