The first week of September was a big one for the NACC NRM team, as we hosted guests from all over Australia as part of the 2021 National Malleefowl & WA Threatened Species Forum!
Passionate environmentalists from far and wide joined us both online and in-person in sunny Geraldton, where we spent the week networking and discussing national, state, and regional threatened species strategies. Presenters spoke about projects trialled, challenges, and solutions in their respective regions which provided a space for collaboration and sharing of ideas. A group of around 100 conservation professionals, hobbyists, students and scientists attended the conference which was held at the brand new Batavia Coast Conference Centre in the Gerald Apartment Hotel.
On Monday 6 September, the week began with a Malleefowl bush walk through Hidden Valley! A group of about 30 explorers headed out in the sunshine, observing inactive mounds. They even found old Malleefowl egg shells and feathers! Later that evening, delegates were able to meet and mingle at a sundowner on the deck of the Geraldton Museum. Attendees were treated to incredible, locally sourced food, a range of performances from local musicians, and a magical sunset to welcome everyone to our beautiful region. It was a great opportunity to show off some local businesses, including some recycled, wearable art from Lattitude’s Flotsam & Jetsam exhibition.
During the week, speakers of all fields of conservation presented on current projects and the data findings, challenges and progress involved. Some of the highlights were Dr. Chris Surman, who has been involved in long term monitoring of seabirds on Pelsaert Island since 2006, Brett Backhouse who has used LiDar to find several active Malleefowl mounds in South Australia, and Krystyna Jordan who came to us virtually to talk about how drones have enabled detailed monitoring of Malleefowl mounds without disrupting the birds or their routines.
Wednesday night, delegates were treated to a dining experience under the stars at Nukara Farm in Nanson! The evening provided opportunity for networking and mingling, while showing off a much-loved, local gem.
And what better way to wrap the week than by jumping on board with Abrolhos Adventures for a fast ferry tour to the beautiful Pelsaert Island? Dr Chris Surman showed the group around the island and talked about some of the inhabitants which included skinks, Lesser Noddy birds and sea lions! Our region’s wildlife were far from shy, with breaching whales, playful dolphins, and curious sea lions making appearances throughout the day!
This year marked the first-ever merging of the National Malleefowl Conference with the WA Threatened Species Forum, which made for a bustling hive of activity and plenty of opportunity for collaboration. The week featured 14 local artists, more than 25 businesses and organisations, 36 youth participants from three local schools and included 12 events over five days to keep our attendees on their toes! We certainly enjoyed hosting this conference and showing off beautiful Geraldton.
This project is supported by NACC NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.