Every year the NACC NRM team takes two days out of the office and away from the daily grind to reconnect; with each other and with the fabulous work that our community and partners are doing in the region. Last year we visited Green Head and helped Green Head Coastcare Group to place brushing which helps stabilise dune ecosystems. In 2022 it was time to venture inland. Boy were we spoilt.
Our team retreat initiative is a team-led activity. A small self-nominated staff committee plan the annual trip. They liaise with partners, Traditional Custodians and caterers and make logistical arrangements for the team.
Our 2022 inland adventure took us to AWC’s Mt Gibson Sanctuary. We were treated to an amazing feast under the stars thanks to the campfire cooking prowess of Jo Clews. But dinner was not the end of our adventures for the day. After dark was when the real action happened.
AWC’s Mt Gibson Sanctuary is a special location for many reasons, not the least of which is their world class feral predator free enclosure. They are constantly monitoring the imposing fence which keeps foxes and cats away from populations of Bilby’s, Woylie’s, Stick-nest rats and other highly predated small native mammals.
In addition to monitoring the fence, it is also important to undertake regular fauna surveys to monitor species abundance. The NACC NRM team were very happy to offer their eyes to the spotlighting and survey cause. It was clear from our short time in the enclosure that the species inside are benefiting from the protective fence. The site has been so successful, that for some species, Mt Gibson is being used as a source site for relocation of animals to other parts of WA.
There are very strict protocols in place to manage population abundance and genetics as part of the translocation process. These protocols are all expertly managed by the team of on-ground ecologists at AWC, including our very own former NACCer, Dr Amanda Bourne who joined AWC in May. The protocols are also strictly monitored by the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).
Don’t worry, AWC did not pass on the opportunity to put a group of 16 captive volunteers to work. Over two days the NACC NRM team contributed around 45 volunteer hours making universal bait balls (a delicious mix of oats, peanut butter and sardines), gardening in the small burgeoning botanic garden and monitoring.
So far, Mt Gibson has been able to re-release nine out of the planned ten species which were regionally extinct into the enclosure. NACC NRM with funding from the Australian Government through Regional Land Partnerships is very proud to be supporting the translocation of one final species in 2022/23. The Western Quoll, sometimes referred to as Chuditch, is a small carnivorous mammal, which AWC is working towards translocating outside the fenced area. You may ask ‘why outside’? The long-term goal is to re-establish wild populations across the entire Mt Gibson sanctuary. With the creation of suitable conditions, it is hoped they can be sustained without the enclosure.
If you have a community project idea that we can support for our next team retreat, or you have a team that would like to support a project activity, get in touch with us.