With the official opening of the Michael Tichbon Field Centre at one of our Gondwana Link Reserves – Red Moort – rapidly approaching, we’d like to share a few words from two of our WA volunteers about their recent stay. Richard and Beverly Winterton have been volunteering with us since 2017 on various ecological projects. Most recently they spent a week in the South West installing nesting boxes for Pygmy Possums on Monjebup North. Here’s what they had to say…
We recently had the privilege of being among the first volunteers to stay at the new Michael Tichbon Field Centre at Red Moort. The centre is an amazing facility for field studies in the Bush Heritage Gondwana link area.
Waking up to the dawn chorus of the Golden Whistlers and Tawny Headed Honey Eaters was delightful.
The Centre makes an impressive sight as you curve around the road and first see it. It sits low and in accord with its environment while looking modern and functional.
The central feature is a large communal area that provides a great space for work, relaxation, and to hold presentations and functions. It's an open area and has good views over the reserve, so you get a feeling of being in the bush.
If staying overnight, or on a cold day, you need plenty of warm clothes for when the cold SW winds blow. It got a bit too cold for us in the communal area on a couple of nights, so we retreated to the office for shelter while having meals and socialising. In the future a gas heater is planned for the communal area and there's provision for an outdoor fire pit, so those will be welcome additions.
The Centre has just been handed over to Bush Heritage and we were there for the first week of field work – it was great to see something of such significance and potential come to life – we worked with Ecologist Angela Sanders to put in fences for pit traps and set up some new Pygmy Possum nesting boxes on another reserve in the Gondwana link.
Consultants and other volunteers visited to set up wallaby and Tammar Wallaby camera traps, conduct vegetation surveys, and undertake flora identification.
We really enjoyed being there to see the Centre’s operations begin, and seeing it so early gave us a great appreciation of how much work has gone into it, with some more still to do!
We look forward to seeing the Centre develop – there's no doubt it will make a great platform for work and research, enable community involvement and be a wonderful promotional centre for the Gondwana Link and Bush Heritage.
Thank you all for arranging our visit.
– Beverley and Richard Winterton