One of the things I love about working for Bush Heritage is the opportunity it provides to get my children into the bush where I can to share my passion for nature and conservation. I recently travelled from Perth to Hamelin Station Reserve with my husband and three children.
On the way we stopped at Geraldton and I had the chance to have a catch up with Bush Heritage volunteers Rex, Pam and Murray. All three of these volunteers have helped us over the years at Eurardy Reserve and Charles Darwin Reserve. It was fabulous to put a 'face' to their names and meet these valued volunteers.
We then stopped in at Eurardy Station Reserve (just north of Geraldton) where we caught up with Reserve Manger and Rangelands Ecologist Ben Parkhurst and his wife, ecologist (and great hardworking Bush Heritage volunteer) Tina Schroeder. Long term Bush Heritage volunteers Len and Valerie Warren and their grandson Ben were also at Eurardy at the time conducting the autumn sandpad monitoring. It was great to see them in action, taking a break after their early morning start.
On our way from Eurardy to Hamelin we were able to rescue a Thorny Devil from a very perilous road crossing. It was brilliant to see the delight and amazement of the kids as they got to carefully hold and look at this truly magnificent animal.
At Hamelin Station Reserve we camped at the beautiful Outback Station Stay now managed by Jackie Mahood. The kids got to enjoy the amazing wetland birds, emus, kangaroos and great diversity of reptiles (including a very sweet resident - central netted dragon) around the Station Stay. We all enjoyed the joyful call of the chiming wedgebill. The kids also got to explore the greater area of Shark Bay with their dad while I spent time working with Jackie and with Greg Suosaari (Healthy Landscape Manager) and Dr. Erica Suosaari (Research Fellow - Hamelin Pool).
Greg and Erica moved to Hamelin approximately eight months ago and are working hard to re-envisage Hamelin Station as a conservation reserve. Erica, a stromatolite expert is building our marine research profile (see Erica's blog post here) and Greg is working hard to ensure the small stock are removed from the Reserve and that the water, power and infrastructure needs of the Reserve are sustainable and effectively address it's growing needs.
On our way back down the coast I got to catch up with Bush Heritage volunteer Jaye Allen. Jaye became a Bush Heritage volunteer last year and in a short period of time has done a variety of valuable work for our Gondwana Link reserves and Charles Darwin Reserve. Jaye is a fascinating person with a Masters degree in Captive Vertebrate Management, language teacher, fluent in five languages and a budding artist. It was delightful to catch up with her.
It was a fabulous trip full of interesting people with a passion for conservation, inspiring landscapes, and beautiful flora and fauna. Bush Heritage now owns and manages three very different and important properties in the western rangelands. You can't help but feel excited about the important contribution we are making to conservation when you spend time in these areas and with these dedicated people. For me, being able to meet many of the Bush Heritage West staff and volunteers, while my children got to be bush kids and be inspired by nature, well it just doesn't get much better than that.