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Science Alive Stand 2017

4-6 August 2017

Did you know that Science Alive celebrated it’s 12th event in 2017? Nature Foundation SA is proud to be involved with this hands on interactive and educational weekend. People of all ages immerse themselves and discover “why things work and what they do”.

This year our stand aimed to educate people about native animals, develop an appreciation for microscopic nature and promote eco-tourism at our nature reserves. Our stand had three native animals to see and touch including the Stimson’s Python, Hopping Mouse and Murray River Short Neck Turtle. They were all a hit and we really enjoyed sharing stories about their habitat and behaviour.

Professor Chris Daniels encouraged the sales of Spotted Marsh Tadpoles to the public to help children learn about conservation via caring for a native species. All were captive bred and almost 1000 were sold on the weekend. Dr Rob Morrison gave an informative talk on bird boxes and bat boxes for highly enthusiastic families and urged how important their role is in urban spaces. It was a fantastic weekend and schools day with over 30,000 people attending and providing a great opportunity to engage with the broader community.

Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped to make this possible.

    



Watchalunga Planting Festival 2017

16 July 2017

On Sunday 16 July, a group of 121 volunteers joined forces with Nature Foundation and Goolwa to Wellington LAP on a windy but fine day to plant the trees and shrubs. The day began with a paddock consisting of pasture grasses and not much else and finished with a sea of tree guards protecting 3800 seedlings. The vollies got stuck into the day with such enthusiasm they were irrepressible and moved through the planting at an impress speed.

We were very fortunate to have 51 members Adelaide’s Tzu Chi’s Foundation join us for the day. The Tzu Chi Foundation is a charity organisation with a focus on disaster aids, environmental protection, medical services and education. It was amazing to have a new group such as Tzu Chi share their vibrancy and positivity with the Nature Foundation. It was fantastic to have such a multi-cultural event. The additional noodles and rice for lunch was also brilliant.

SA Power Networks Employee Foundation have been an amazing supporter of Nature Foundation SA over many years. They have been involved with volunteering at our tree planting days at Para Woodlands in the north near Gawler, sponsored our Treasure Hunt for Nature event and kindly provided their BBQ trailer on the day that cooked the delicious lunch prepared by the Friends of Nature Foundation.

In addition to providing the BBQ trailer the SA Power Networks Employee Foundation also donated $5,000 to the Watchalunga Nature Reserve to help assist with our restoration efforts and support native species like the Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren, Southern Bell frog and native fish species to thrive in this Finniss-Tookayerta Biosphere.


First Aboriginal School Mentoring
Program at Witchelina Nature Reserve Alex_small.jpg
a resounding success

17 June 2016

Thirteen year 8/9 students from Port Augusta Secondary School (PASS) visited Witchelina Nature Reserve last week for a three-day work experience camp as part of the Aboriginal School Mentoring Program (ASMP), a groundbreaking education initiative backed by Heathgate Resources. 

In the first of three camps at Witchelina this year, students participated in activities such as flora and fauna identification, map reading and GPS skills. The ASMP has been carefully designed to give young Aboriginal students the skills, opportunities, belief and confidence to finish school while providing them with a greater understanding of conservation of land management.
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The dynamic program was developed by Heathgate's Senior HR Advisor Jacquie Dealtry and won the recent SA Premier's Community Excellence Award in Mining and Energy for Excellence in Social Inclusion. Working with Jacquie on the project has been Nature Foundation's Industry Engagement Manager Caroline Nefiodovas, who says working on the program has been a career highlight for her. "I have loved working on this project, which is a fantastic opportunity for Nature Foundation to work with our resource industry partners, like Heathgate, to deliver forward-looking and enriching events and activities for those who can really benefit. We are looking forward to hearing more stories from the first successful camp."
 

 


Become a coBlanchetown.jpgnservation land owner through BushbankSA

Through Nature Foundation SA's BushbankSA program, six 900 ha bush blocks are now for sale    at the beautiful Blanchetown Bushland Estate.   

Click here for more details and to secure your   piece of South Australia's precious bushland heritage.



Feral-Cat-article_Page_1.jpgIn the media: Nature Foundation SA  reveals its endless battle against feral cats and their devastation on native wildlife.

by Clare Peddie in the Sunday Mail, 20 March 2016

The remains of more than 30 native lizards removed from the stomach of just one feral cat starkly reveals the damage the felines do to the nation's wildlife. The partly digested arms, legs, tails, heads and bodies represent about two days of meals for the 4.7 kg cat, which was killed in the Far North as part of a five-year study in the impact of ferals.

Click here to see the full Sunday Mail article.

Marina-credit-Amy-Slender_small.jpgSignificant Environmental Benefit (SEB) biodiversity offsets in action: Funding research into the threatened thick-billed grasswren

Friday, 18 March 2016

In 2011, Nature Foundation SA designed a biodiversity offset strategy for Arrium Mining's habitat disturbance at the Peculiar Knob Iron Ore Mine, which triggered EPBC obligations for investigation and remediating thick-billed grasswren                                                                  (TBGW) habitat as well as an SEB obligation. The strategy centered on a research component, designed to improve knowledge of the ecology, distribution and environmental preferences of TBGWs in arid South Australia to better inform conservation management strategies on Witchelina Nature Reserve. The research was conducted by PhD students Marina Louter and Amy Slender from Flinders University, and the final results and analysis are coming together now. NFSA is excited to report on this fantastic example of how SEB offsets can lead to real conservation outcomes.

Marina and Amy conducted bird surveys across 100+ plots across Witchelina and a large area west of Lake Torrens, and took blood samples from 164 individuals across two populations. Habitat features such as predation pressure, chenopod vegetation cover and insect abundance were related to the presence/absence of TBGWs at sites with low and high historical grazing pressure. TBGWs were more likely to be absent from sites that had experienced heavy grazing.

DNA analysis of blood samples revealed that the two populations are currently interbreeding and that the TBGWs on Witchelina have low levels of extra-pair paternity (high fidelity in grasswren breeding pairs). A second component of the SEB offset was the reduce on-ground predation (feral cats and foxes) on the TBGW populations and increasing the area/quality of TBGW chenopod shrubland habitat. Predation pressure on TBGW nests was low: 71% of TBWG nests survived until fledging. Although the identity of nest predators remained unknown, the high nesting success of TBGWs at Witchelina indicates that predator control measures are paying off.

Now that we are better informed of the TBGW's ecology and distribution across Witchelina through this SEB-funded research, conservation measures such as these can be even more targeted into the future. For example, the research found that TBGWs almost exclusively use large chenopod shrubs such as black bush (Maireana pyramidata) and low blue bush (M. astrotricha) to build their nests in and that grasswrens do not occur in areas without these shrub types.

Marina and her partner have recently become rotational managers at Witchelina Nature Reserve. "We could not resist stopped at a few grasswren territories along the road. I was happy to see that the first grasswren we ever caught at Witchelina in 2012 was still alive. This male is now at least five years old and he was together with a female and three other birds, including a juvenile of only a few weeks old that had a yellow gape. The grasswrens are breeding!"