Gateway to games and chill A SHOPPING centre in Langwarrin is actively encouraging youths to hang out at the shops. The Gateway at 230 Cranbourne - Frankston Rd has launched ‘The Gateway Youth Hangout Program’ with a “pop-up chill out area” overseen by two youth workers running on a fortnightly basis on a Friday or Saturday. Open to anyone aged 12 – 24 years, the hangout will be a safe place for youth to relax, play computer games
on an Xbox, PlayStation and classic arcade game machines for free. The program is run as an outreach centre in partnership with Frankston Council which already hosts six youth hangout spots in community centres. “It’s no secret that The Gateway attracts many of the local youngsters as a place to meet and socialise,” Vicinity Centres marketing manager Fran Hutcheson said. “We hope to create a safe envi-
ronment for them to meet, where support services are on hand should they need; from job seeking through to help with homework or simply just a chat and some friendly competition on the Xbox.” Later this year, a newly created ‘Youth Services’ bus will also visit the centre every second month providing a mobile hang out in the shopping centre’s carpark space. See thegatewaysc.com.au for details.
Drill man: Joachim MacIntosh, of Pakenham, helps make a house for the owlet nightjar. Inset: owlet at The Briars, Mt Martha. Picture: Luke Shelley
Help for disappearing nightjar
Space invaders welcome: Youth workers Scott Prior, left, and Taela Davis enjoy old school arcade games with Josh Doyle and Logan King at a new youth hangout at The Gateway shopping centre. Picture: Gary Sissons
BIRD watchers and environmentalists are concerned about the lack of recent sightings of the Australian owletnightjar (Aegotheles chrisoptus) on the peninsula. The owlet-nightjar is the smallest nocturnal bird in Australia, has cat-like whiskers and measures about 23cm long. It prefers to live in woodland and is usually difficult to see during the day as it hides in hollow branches and tree trunks. Owlet-nightjars feed at night on a variety of bugs, especially grasshoppers, beetles and ants. They play an important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem in our natural
environment. The birds mate for life, lay threefive white rounded eggs and raise one clutch a season. Their preferred habitat is any tree-studded area with suitable hollows. Members of the Natured Kids’ Junior Landcare Group are excited because a local bushwalker last week filmed one at The Briars, Mt Martha, sunning itself at the entrance to a hollow in a tree. It is evident owlet nightjars are vanishing in populated areas, although they are adaptable and have been spotted in urban areas nearb remnant bushland.
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4 September 2017