Fifteen community members got Batty about Biodiversity recently.
Learning about bats and other biodiversity was the aim of the workshop, held at the Old Convent in Dalwallinu in March. The afternoon workshop was followed by a fun night stalk.
Paulina Wittwer of Carnamah LCDC Landcare Group, spoke about how they have kept their group going, one of the few LCDC groups still operating.
Paulina has a great history record of the group and of Carnamah; this is her passion, she loves documenting important events and making them into a poster. She explained, that keeping the group simple and flexible were key factors of its success.
Paulina said of her approach: “Taking out a thermos with a basket of scones and visiting sites, and having a chat about what the group would like to focus on and then just do it.”
Next up was Melissa Farrelly from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, who has been working at the Mount Gibson Sanctuary.
Melissa expanded on which reintroductions of fauna have been occurring and the protection of endangered species by removing feral pest animals from inside the fenced off area which is the biggest in Australia, and second biggest in the world. Melissa also touched the history of AWC and what they are achieving right across Australia.
She announced some exciting news, that the sanctuary would open tourism opportunities and a new camp grounds will open from April to October 2017, with some walk trails developed.
Joe Tonga followed on with the workshop talking about how a small handy task (building bird boxes) developed into a full-time project. He started off making bird boxes for his backyard. Soon the neighbours caught on and wanted to get on board and now Joe travels throughout the region holding workshops building bat boxes.
He explained the bird boxes haven’t been as successful due to feral bees invading the boxes and killing the baby birds so he tends to stick with building bat boxes these days.
As part of the workshop, participants built bat boxes learning top skills from Joe who had an amazing set up, which has been developed over many years and particularly designed for school children, very safety-conscious and great fun.
All boxes came in a kit which Joe guided participants through assembling with drills, glue and even a burning implement to decorate your own bat box.
The workshop was closely followed by a Night Stalk. After dark, Joe had all the night vision equipment which was transferred onto an iPad so participants could see exactly what he was seeing.
He had speakers set up with remote access to animal sounds, some distressed animals sounds to attract feral animals such as foxes. He also had a device which picked up bat noises and accentuated the noise so that we could identify the different species.
Ultra UV light enabled everyone to see many things clearly at night, including: spiders, scorpions, small night creatures.
A great interactive workshop all-round!
This project is supported by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government National Landcare Programme.