Latest News

Stay up to date with all the latest news on Nature Foundation's programs, projects and activities!

Royal Flying Doctor Service visits Hiltaba

It was wonderful to welcome the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Hiltaba Nature Reserve for the first SA rural COVID-19 clinic! The Homestead dining room was transformed into a clinic and the lounge became a ‘waiting’ room. Afternoon tea was also served 🙂

Locals enjoyed visiting Hiltaba, with some neighbours meeting for the first time!

The RFDS COVID clinic went very well and will be returning on Monday 19 July to give second Pfizer injections.
Did you miss our Winter Wonders: Geegeela Nature Reserve webinar?

Find out how wildlife is surveyed at one of Nature Foundation’s reserves in the Limestone Coast of South Australia. Guests from Nature Foundation, Nature Glenelg Trust and Scientific Expedition Group discuss the importance of private land conservation and biodiversity in the Bangham district of SA.

Watch the full recording here!

This project is funded by the Limestone Coast Landscape Board through the Grassroots Grants Program.
Revitalising Private Conservation in South Australia Round 3 grants of up to $10,000 now open until 2 August 2021.

The grants are also available for aspiring Heritage Agreement land owners with biodiversity outcomes, controlling plant and animal pest species, and remnant vegetation protection the focus of this round.

Click here for grant guidelines, writing tips and ideas for your application and access to a recorded online information session. 
Scats and swabs on a magical piece of KI

There’s a large coastal bushland property on Kangaroo Island, a magical place that’s home to Peter and James, a whole lot of bush and all sorts of critters.
Tired of seeing the wilderness being whittled away and wanting to play a part in protecting some of it, Peter and James bought their block 11 years ago and placed a Heritage Agreement on 100 acres to protect it forever. Since then, they’ve been regenerating the land and actively involved in citizen science projects.
Threatened animals such as the Hooded Plover, Kangaroo Island Echidna, White bellied Sea Eagle, Rosenberg’s Goanna and Beautiful Firetail are a frequent, if not daily sighting for them and in spring, thousands of near threatened Hare Orchid appear along with 11 other orchids.

Peter’s been helping out Dr Peggy Rismiller from University of Adelaide’s Echidna Conservation Science Initiative (EchidnaCSI) project since it commenced in 2017. He’s been submitting photos and locations of echidnas and their scats, to help build our understanding of these unique creatures for their future conservation. In this project, Dr Rismiller has teamed up with University of Adelaide molecular researchers including Prof Frank Grutzner and Dr Tahlia Perry and the community, to spot echidnas and to collect scats for molecular analysis to learn more about their diet and health. 

At the moment, Peggy, who has researched KI echidnas for 35 years, and Mike McKelvey are keen to get tummy and cloaca swabs, particularly repeated swabs of the same animal. Molecular information from these can reveal interesting changes during their breeding cycle or as a result of environmental change like the recent bush fires.

As part of this project, Peter has already located two echidnas on his property and Peggy and Mike have swabbed and weighed them. These swabs are sent to Dr Perry at the University for molecular analysis. Peggy also collects all stages of ticks from echidnas for Dr Stephen Barker, University of Queensland. He is piecing together their life history and updating information for his work “Ticks of Australia”. Curiously, the ticks are echidna-specific and remain as eggs in the soil until an echidna ambles past. 

Join leading researchers in echidna and insect biology to learn all about the secret lives of these remarkable species on Kangaroo Island. Free event on KI, 22 August 2021. 
Echidnas are a protected species and these researchers have ethics and DEW permits to carry out this field work.
Photo: Peter Hastwell

NOW OPEN - Mike Bull Award

The Award includes a medal of academic excellence and a grant of $3,000 that can be used to support research, attend a conference or seminar, or visit another lab/potential future collaborator.
Established in memory of the late Professor Mike Bull who made a notable contribution to the scientific community and was passionate about supporting the next generation of scientists.
Read more here

Applications close: Sunday 11 July 2021.

Photo: Marina Louter holding a Thick-billed Grasswren (Valeria Zanollo)
Pygmy bluetongue research

Recently Dr Jess Clayton presented to Nature Foundation supporters on her research monitoring translocation as a conservation tool for the endangered Pygmy Bluetongue.

This short video provides a fascinating update on the research being done at Flinders University - with thanks to Associate Professor Mike Gardner.

Photo courtesy Lucy Clive
High-tech backpacks help vulnerable Regent Parrot

Karen Bishop, from Riverland West Landcare and Regent Parrot Recovery Team (SA), recently talked to Nature Foundation staff about the beautiful Regent Parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus).

Unfortunately, this slim green, yellow and red parrot is listed as vulnerable in South Australia and nationally, and in recent years numbers locally have halved.

Although we were at our new nature reserve, Murbpook Lagoon near the River Murray, where there were recent sightings, we were not lucky enough to spot any. However, Karen’s authentic models gave us a good idea of what they look like. It’s not surprising that they’re often mistaken for the more common Yellow Rosella but the Regent’s distinctive flight pattern, like a fighter jet darting through the trees, rather than the rosella’s undulating one, sets it apart.

Work to save them is taking place on several fronts. Nature Foundation, a member of the South Australian Regent Parrot Recovery Team, through its delivery of Commonwealth water for the environment is helping to save important Regent Parrot habitat at its Water For Nature sites. It is understood the parrots use tree hollows in red gums for nesting and the death of hundreds of mature trees over the last few decades from reduced river flows is thought to be contributing to the species’ decline.

Plus, Karen fills us in on an exciting new project that is collecting vital data that may help save this species. In this innovative project, high tech backpacks with satellite trackers have been fitted to some of these birds to record their roosting, feeding, and breeding behaviours and locations!

Designed by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board’s Ecology program and the Regent Parrot Recovery Team, these backpacks fit snugly over the birds’ wings and contain a tracker that transmits the birds’ movements throughout the day. A battery recharged by a solar panel allows the tracker to collect data over long periods of time and collects vital information that may help arrest the decline of this iconic species.
Karen with Regent Parrot models (A Clark)
Reduce your tax and help save native species at the same time!

As a supporter of Nature Foundation we know you're passionate about protecting and restoring the natural environment that sustains us all. You can help us contribute to the substantial investment needed in the guardianship of nature – our landscapes, plants and animals, and help to stop further native species loss.

Our conservation work has never been more critical and together we can make a big difference to nature, with much we can achieve in the short-term. There is already a great deal of work being done but there is so much more to do!

At this time every year we launch the one appeal where we can generate untied funds to provide crucial financial support for Nature Foundation’s general operations – the Vital Work Appeal. These untied funds enable our organisation to be flexible and responsive in a rapidly changing environment. Conservation work and property maintenance activities on our precious nature reserves are vital for them to prosper. 

Please consider donating to our Vital Work Appeal today so our work can continue.

Nature needs our help now more than ever.  Thank you in advance for your support!
Behind the scenes at Witchelina Nature Reserve

It’s mid-May and Nature Foundation’s Witchelina Nature Reserve in SA’s north is bustling.

The temperatures are in the pleasant mid 20s all week, it’s calm and quiet with only a trace of rain at the beginning of the week.

Rotational Manager Phil Cole chooses to drive up to Witchelina via Clare and Melrose with three other volunteers – a big mistake he discovers when they find roadworks almost continuous from Clare to Wilmington.

As the rostered Rotational Manager, Phil has a wide range of jobs during his week-long stay, including checking in guests, assisting visitors with bookings and enquiries about Nature Drives, and a variety of conservation and maintenance activities.

There are a number of visitors during the week. One is Jane Rusden, Nature Foundation’s current Artist in Residence. Jane goes out with Phil on a couple of occasions as he goes about his work to get a feel for the place, before heading out to camp on her own for a few days. We look forward to seeing the artwork resulting from her residency at the reserve.

Two light aircraft land, having flown for 7 hours from Queensland. Two other visitors, both of whom manage private conservation properties in Queensland, come across our promotional brochure at Wilpena Pound and make the trip to the reserve. They have an enjoyable stay and comment that the Nature Drive notes we provide are the best they’ve seen.

Another guest from Victoria is booked in for two nights but enjoys it so much he stays for four. He kindly helps Phil out with the never-ending task of spraying weeds. Four retired teachers from Lakes Entrance also visit and camp while an NSW couple stay in the more luxurious Bookkeeper’s cottage for a few days. 

Phil also records rabbit and other feral species numbers, so that we know how many are around and can act to keep the numbers as low as possible to let the native vegetation recover.

Decent rain in March means that a significant weed, buffel grass, has come up again. As well as spending several days spraying herbicide on the outbreaks, Phil takes photos at several photo points to assist with recording and managing the weeds. He appreciates using the new spray plant mounted on one of the reserve’s vehicles, which was purchased through funds raised at last year’s Member Tour to Witchelina. He reports it’s much easier to use than the old version, significantly increasing the area he can cover with less effort. 

Phil also makes some environmental observations: there are low levels of kangaroos – great for the recovering vegetation; and disappointingly few Wedge-tailed eagles. But he did manage to spot a few Echidnas.

Thank you, Phil and all our Rotational Managers who make the operation of Witchelina and Hiltaba Nature Reserves run so smoothly.

Photo: A pair of echidnas at Willawalpa Creek, Witchelina Nature Reserve (Phil Cole)

April 2021 Research Grants Round

Updated 5 May 2021 - Grants Round NOW CLOSED.

Apply for a Nature Foundation grant to support your nature conservation related research! Nature Foundation's Grants Program funds research focussed on the conservation of South Australia's biodiversity and habitats. Grants of $2000 to $15,000 are available.

One Research Project Grant of up to $15,000 is being offered in this round. Nature Foundation is seeking research proposals from experienced researchers with a background in the intersection of social sciences, conservation psychology, conservation and ecology to address the following research question to assist the organisation’s strategic development:

To identify what aspects of Nature Foundation’s biodiversity conservation work have impact (value to end users) using social science approaches to identify aspects that could a) improve the targeting and value of Nature Foundation’s nature conservation work, and b) inform supporter recruitment and retention.

Find more information on the grant categories and how to apply. April 2021 Grant Round closes 5pm (ACST) May 2.

Message from our CEO

I am most excited to launch Nature Foundation’s new branding, as we simultaneously celebrate our 40th birthday this year! In the past 40 years we have achieved much, matured as an organisation and significantly broadened our reach. Our new branding, which builds on the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby from previous logos, reflects our diverse activities and unique approach. It is a contemporary and fresh look for the future, and we hope it will inspire both existing and new audiences to connect with and conserve the natural habitat of South Australia for future generations.

Integral to the update of our brand and logo is our new and improved website which illustrates the breadth of Nature Foundation’s activities and how we can help you, and how you can help us achieve our vision. The new, easy-to-navigate website provides information about our broad-ranging programs, the places and species we work with and how people and organisations can become involved in our work for nature conservation in South Australia.

Our new website also provides fresh customer service and increased access options including making donations and membership payments online, booking accommodation and activities at Witchelina and Hiltaba Nature Reserves and purchasing some of our beautiful newly-branded merchandise online, 24/7!

All who have been involved in the creation of this new brand can be extremely proud of it and what it represents. Thank you to Black Sheep Advertising who have worked with us to create it and Fran Botha for her beautiful design. A big thank you also goes to Daniel Vallejo at The Factory for his tireless work in creating a new user-friendly website. And of course, a big thank you to the Nature Foundation Board and staff for their significant commitment to realise this amazing new branding and website.

Thank you to our members, supporters and partner organisations for your continued support of Nature Foundation and our vital work conserving, restoring and protecting South Australian landscapes, flora and fauna to ensure their survival and grow their resilience.

Linking Landscapes grant round

Updated 5 May 2021 - Linking Landscapes Grants Round NOW CLOSED.

Linking Landscape grants are now available for projects between $10,000 and $250,000.

We’re providing existing and aspiring Heritage Agreement owners with the opportunity to access advice and grants to plan and undertake nature conservation works on their properties. The aim is to expand the quantity, extent and quality of protected areas of native vegetation on private land in South Australia.

We are looking for innovative, collaborative and multi-property outcomes in this grant opportunity. Co-ordinated action, in partnership with others. With a focus on climate adaptation outcomes, value for money and linking vegetation.

To check if you’re eligible please read the guidelines on the program website, where you can also apply online.

Over $12,000 for Glossy Black-cockatoo recovery on Kangaroo Island!

Congratulations and many thanks to the team at St John's Grammar School who organised this fabulous auction of eight large kangaroos and 10 mini kangaroos to raise funds for bushfire recovery. A grand total of $23,500 was raised! These funds have been generously distributed to Nature Foundation’s Glossy Black-cockatoo Recovery Program and Kangala Wildlife Rescue.

Organisers Dawn Clarke and Kate Wright named the project “The tROOper Project” because a collective of kangaroos is sometimes referred to as a Troop and it’s also an Australian colloquialism meaning a person who is reliable and uncomplaining, appropriate for the thousands of volunteers who assist in times of crisis! Thank you to all the organisations and artists who donated their time for this great cause.

The Glossy Black-cockatoo (GBC) Recovery Program is one of Australia’s leading examples of how good governance, strategic planning, community commitment and appropriate resourcing can effectively reverse the decline of a critically endangered species. Now extinct on mainland Australia, the endangered Glossy Black-cockatoo has its last refuge on Kangaroo Island.

Find out more about our Glossy Black-Cockatoo Recovery Program

Para Woodlands 100-year Masterplan

Are you a consultant or organisation who can create a transformative and achievable 100-year masterplan for conservation outcomes at Para Woodlands Nature Reserve? We are looking to explore how this unique area on Adelaide’s doorstep can deliver species protection and conservation, and support broader community engagement.

The masterplan will focus on the key themes of conservation, community engagement, and recreational land use. The successful tenderer will facilitate consultation with key stakeholders, develop discussion papers and provide options to the current steering committee for a pathway forward. Success will result in an inclusive 100-year masterplan that has broad support, community buy-in and achievable targets. For the full briefing papers please see documents below or email [email protected].

  • Call for Proposal
  • Para Woodlands Barossa Block map
  • Para Woodlands map location
  • Para Woodlands Yaringa Block map

Photo of Musk Lorikeet at Para Woodlands; Dragos Moise