#PeopleOfNRM – Freda Blakeway

You may recognise this month’s #PeopleOfNRM; Freda Blakeway is a dedicated Birdlife Midwest volunteer, and friend of NACC NRM!

Freda grew up surrounded by nature in the Worcestershire Country side. After moving to Australia to farm at Tenindewa, Ambania and then Chapman Valley, Freda developed a keen interest in the flora and fauna of the Northern Agricultural Region.

In 1995, Freda took part in the Birds on Farms survey and gained knowledge about the impact of recording data to track changes over time. It wasn’t long until Freda joined Birdlife Midwest, which introduced her to birding outings, camp outs, and surveying. These adventures have taken Freda to many unique sites like Charles Darwin Reserve, Thundellara (now Karrara Reserve) Mt Gibson, Eurady, Wooleen Station, Credo Station, Charles Park Reserve, and many more.

Freda says her biggest commitment has been getting involved in monitoring Carnaby hollows, usually carried out around Mogumber and Moora.

Freda (second from right) volunteering with NACC NRM’s Biodiversity team.

“Initially we would wait until an adult Canarby left the hollow, then assign a number to that tree and record its vital statistics for the database,” Freda said.

“Pole cameras and apps now make easier work of recording and collecting more information; number of eggs or chicks and approximate age of chicks, some of which are banded to gather more information.”

Monitoring of hollows in the Murchison area has been an exciting project for Freda, who says that while checking on nesting Carnaby’s Cockatoos, the group has also discovered Red-Tailed Cockatoos, bees, bats, ducks, owls and pythons!

“Speaking of interesting finds, our guests are frequently surprised by the contents of our freezer; birds, beetles, snakes, mice, rabbits, and the occasional goanna,” said Freda.

“The animals can be used as food, so they are donated to a local group ‘Just Raptors’ run by Janelle Ende who is a dedicated wildlife carer.”

“I would recommend that anyone with an interest in nature consider getting involved in the many volunteering opportunities in our area.”

If you are looking to do your part in environmental conservation but are unsure where to begin, Freda has some recommendations!

  • Register for BioBlitz surveys – there are always people willing to help beginners with identification skills.
  • Download the FrogID app – this app contains a lot of information, and identifies amphibians by analysing recorded sounds.
  • Collect samples for the Echidna Conservation Science Initiative.

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