When photographer and loyal supporter Geoff Spanner looked through his camera lens in 2011, he saw Eurardy Reserve in all its glory, thanks in large part to five years of care by Bush Heritage and its supporters.
Eurardy Reserve in Spring puts on a spectacular wildflower display. Photo: Geoff Spanner
Geoff Spanner at Eurardy in Spring 2011.
When Geoff Spanner first took his camera into the Eurardy Reserve bushland in Spring 2011 and witnessed the flourishing wildflowers, he was thoroughly impressed.
"I don't want to go over the top," he says, "but the flowering was just spectacular. It's part of Australia's only global biodiversity hotspot. The colours were incredible and it was hard to know where to look.”
Geoff, a professional nature photographer, initially arrived at Eurardy to assist reserve managers with their work, but was soon also drawn to capturing the beauty of the land through the lens of his camera.
Like a coral reef on land
Fringe myrtle (Calytrix sp.).
Geoff likens the colourful spectacle to a coral reef on land. The swathes of brilliant red claw-flowers and grevilleas; the vivid yellow everlastings blanketing the earth; the pinks, the purples, the whites and blues; all make Eurardy a world-renowned floral destination.
"You get these incredible white blooms that are so much like coral," says Geoff. "Others, feather flowers, are these amazing reds with tiny tentacles all over them. It just keeps going on and on."
Today, on his second stint at Eurardy, it's early morning and the light, Geoff explains, has that "soft glow only deserts have". With camera at the ready, he drives in the magnificent semi-arid country hunting the right shot.
"I want to show the tiny little intricacies of the flowers, but not take them out and isolate them," says Geoff. "I want to show that this is part of a much larger landscape."
A biodiversity hotspot
Eurardy Reserve is located near Geraldton, in Western Australia's South-West Botanical Province, one of 34 areas acknowledged worldwide as a ‘biodiversity hotspot'. It protects over 500 plant species as well as creatures such as the hairy-footed dunnart, the spinifex hopping-mouse and the vulnerable malleefowl.
Once a sheep station and tourist operation, Eurardy was under threat back in 2005 when its former owners put the property up for sale. Bush Heritage supporters banded together to buy it and in 2006 it became a Bush Heritage reserve
The improved health of the reserve today is testament to the dedication of reserve managers, volunteers and to your ongoing contributions.
“I want to show the tiny little intricacies of the flowers ... and I want to show that this is part of a much larger landscape.”
Bush Heritage supporters make the difference
Red and green kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos manglesii)
According to Bush Heritage's first five-year Ecological Outcomes Monitoring Report, supporters have helped make significant improvements to the property.
The activity of insect-eating and nectar-feeding birds has increased significantly across the reserve. There's increased native ground cover and new populations of the threatened spider orchids. And, importantly, feral goat and rabbit populations are down.
Out in the sand dune country, with the midmorning sun starting to burn and the dust beginning to stir, Geoff agrees wholeheartedly with this assessment.
"I've been visiting wild places for a long time," he says. "In places like South America, where I travelled for two years, pretty much all the wilderness is under threat. But Eurardy is just off the scale. It's very impressive."
With a full memory card of images, Geoff heads back to the property's homestead to beat the rising heat
"It gladdens my heart day after day to see and experience this beauty," he confesses. "It really is a privilege to be here."
Eurardy Reserve was acquired in 2005 with the assistance of The Nature Conservancy.