Latest News

Nature Foundation SA Kids on Country program a finalist in 2018 Community Achievement Awards 



Time to share a little story about the adventures of a Freckled Duck ...

In early 2016, Nature Foundation SA pumped some Commonwealth environmental water into a lagoon at Greenways Landing in SA. We worked with the Eastern Hills & Murray Plains Catchment Group Inc, Nildottie Progress & Soldiers Memorial Hall Association INC and the local landholders. In April of that year our volunteer Ron Kerlertas spotted one little Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) amongst the other birdlife enjoying the lagoon. The Freckled Duck is vulnerable in SA and so it was very exciting. We didn’t have any reports of the Freckled Duck in April 2018, when we again put some water into the lagoon to 'prime' it for spring. However, last month following our spring watering our Freckled Duck brought his mates back with him and we now have two pairs of freckled ducks enjoying the wetland! They appear to be sticking around - guess the word is getting out.
A big thanks to Ron as well as our delivery partners Goolwa Tourism 5214 and Berri Barmera Landcare 

Ron is also a great citizen scientist and has been using FrogSpotter to monitor the frogs - recording numerous species including: Common Froglet (Crinia signifera), Eastern Banjo Frog, Pobblebonk, Bull Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii), Spotted Marsh Frog, Spotted Grass Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis) and the Peron’s Tree Frog (Litoria peronii).

If you would like to learn more about environmental watering and get involved - join the My Healthy River Toolkit page or contact Nature Foundation SA. 

Photo of first Freckled Duck below left, and four Freckled Ducks below right courtesy of Ron Kerlertas.

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Fish surveys at Watchalunga

Aquatic ecologists from Aquasave – Nature Glenelg Trust have undertaken fish surveys at Watchalunga Nature Reserve to improve our understanding of the reserve’s fish species and recommend ways we can protect Watchalunga’s native fish into the future.
 
Watchalunga, with its shallow wetland areas and deeper channels, provides important habitat for freshwater fishes, as well as diadromous species that move between freshwater and the ocean.
 
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Mt Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren surveys now underway 

Surveys for the nationally endangered Mt Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren are underway at Watchalunga Nature Reserve, supported by a Nature Foundation SA research project grant. MLRSEW_F-(1).JPG

Southern Emu-wrens rely on Watchalunga Nature Reserve as core habitat. Researchers from the The University of Adelaide are investigating the types of high quality habitat within Watchalunga that allow the birds to breed and raise fledglings successfully. Breeding habitat suitability maps will be developed and this research will help us to identify ways to protect these endangered birds into the future.

The project is seeking volunteers to assist with Emu-wren surveys at Watchalunga until December 2018 - see the Southern emu-wren project for details https://dguevara53.wixsite.com/southern-emu-wren

 

Update from 'The Eagle Team'  IMG_6763.jpg

Six Nature Foundation SA donors joined ecologists and ornithologists to observe Raptors and to map and monitor nests across the diverse landscapes of Witchelina Nature Reserve. 
 
Eight raptor species were recorded in a range of habitats. Sightings included 78 Wedge-tailed Eagles, the majority of breeding age and in many cases in pairs, suggesting a resident breeding population. Despite the very dry conditions being poor for raptor breeding, the team was lucky enough to find an almost week-old fluffy, white Wedge-tailed Eagle chick in one of the nests.
 
This trip is only the start of our study into Witchelina’s captivating raptors and was made possible by your donations to our 2018 Raptor Appeal.

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Waikerie silos artists announced!

Two prominent artists have been named to undertake Waikerie’s $150,000 silo mural painting project, which will reflect the theme “Healthy River, Healthy Community”.gdmugshotbb1.jpg

They are Garry Duncan (pictured right), a world-renowned professional artist who has spent many decades living and painting in South Australia’s Riverland area; and Jimmy Dvate (pictured below), a Melbourne-based artist and graphic designer whose position in the street art scene is well established and admired on walls, canvas and in magazines both locally and internationally.
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Silo art at Coonalpyn, Kimba and Tumby Bay in SA have generated tourism booms in those towns and it is anticipated that the Waikerie silo art will have a similar effect; the mural will also be unique in that the entire silos will be painted, giving different perspectives from the river and town sides.

Local community artist Liz Frankel has worked with project partners Nature Foundation SA, the SA Government, Viterra and others in securing the financing and managing the project. Wills & Co Mitre 10 in Waikerie and Taubmans Paints are also supporting the project.

Click here for the full media release. 

Understanding the role of raptors in ecosystem recovery 

The response to our recent Raptor appeal “The Role of Raptors in Ecosystem Recovery” was fantastic and has produced a firm foundation from which to begin understanding how raptors at Witchelina Nature Reserve are responding to a regenerating ecosystem. The first field trip to kick off the project commences on 24 September 2018. Black-breasted-buzzards,-Witchelina-Nature-Reserve-(photo-Phil-Cole)-(1).jpg

A recent reconnoiter to Witchelina Nature Reserve provided an opportunity to undertake a short one-day driving survey where 25 wedge-tailed eagles were sighted and three brown falcons. This equates to roughly 22 eagles/100 km and three brown falcons/100 km. There is lots more work to be done to get a full picture of the Witchelina population!

We would also like to congratulate the top six donors! Through their very generous support they won a spot on the first field trip to be honorary field assistants. In addition to raptor surveys, participants will enjoy spending time touring the property, taking in the great views, regenerating vegetation, and hopefully encountering some fantastic wildlife.

Raptor expert Ian Falkenberg is leading the trip. Watch this space for more details! 
Photo of Black-breasted Buzzards at Witchelina Nature Reserve by Phil Cole


Expression of Interest  38257325_10156348709836578_4560614764174114816_o.jpg

The Waikerie Silo Art Mural project is excited to release its Artist Expression of Interest document. We are looking for an artist/s to deliver a stunning mural on the Viterra silos to attract lots of visitors to Waikerie, beautify the silos, and promote the need for a healthy river.

If you think you’ve got what it takes please read the EOI and get your submission in by Friday 24th August.

This project is funded through Fund My Neighbourhood and the Government of South Australia.

 

Support Nature Foundation SA through OTRGive Qe5xBH5Q.jpeg

We are delighted to announce our partnership with OTR in their new community initiative – the OTRGive program.

Nature Foundation SA joins 35 other charities of high standing in the program, including two other nature-based charities:Trees for Life and ZoosSA. Premier Steven Marshall officially launched OTRGive at the Zoo in June. 

OTR will give a donation to Nature Foundation SA every time you shop or fill up at OTR and choose us as your preferred charity using the OTR App.

OTR provides to participating charities 0.5 cents per litre and a similar percentage from in-store purchases, when you use the new OTR app.

We are excited about this initiative and would love your support! To participate and download the app, please visit this link: http://bit.ly/OTRGive

1) Download or update the free OTR App on your smartphone:

2) Launch the OTR App and select Rewards. Under OTR Give, choose Nature Foundation SA as your cause.

3) Your account is now linked. Each time you purchase fuel, snacks, drinks and more with the OTR App, simply scan the barcode to help Nature Foundation SA share in a projected $1 million.
Thank you for your support!



Cleland Walking Trail Launch, at Hiltaba Nature Reserve

Nature Foundation SA warmly invites you to attend: DSC04445.jpg
CELEBRATIONS OF THE FOUNDERS’ WALKING TRAILS AT HILTABA NATURE RESERVE
Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018
and in particular to

The launch of the David Cleland Walking Trail on Sunday 26th August at 11.00 am
The weekend will include opportunities to walk on other Hiltaba Founders Walking Trails and see the work of Nature Foundation SA in this distinctive landscape.

Please click here for the event flyer.
Please click here for the event booking form.

 

Kids on Country program gaining national coverage 
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To involve more people and local communities in nature conservation, it is important that we share stories that resonate with the wider community. 
 
Our wonderful Kids on Country program is one such example of a story that ignites the interest and imagination of many.  The Nature Foundation SA team worked with ABC Eyre Peninsula to cover the camp program held at Hiltaba Nature Reserve in May.  Journalist Samantha Jonscher spent two days and one night with the KoC crew, filming activities and interviewing traditional owners, staff and students.
 
The resulting ABC online article is already generating further interest in our Kids on Country program, with a follow-up interview requested by an national Indigenous radio station. Television coverage on ABC news has also been aired and will be featured on the children’s news program, Behind the News, soon. 
 


My Healthy River Toolkit now available! 

MHRT-launch.jpgWe were excited to officially launch the My Healthy River Toolkit at the Riverland Bioblitz on Saturday 19 May!

The Toolkit provides information to interested wetland owners, community people, and organisations about what environmental watering is and how you can help to improve the health of our river. The Toolkit includes six fact sheets with accompanying videos, and is an initiative of Nature Foundation SA’s Water For Nature program. 

Access the My Healthy River Tookit here.
 

My Healthy River Toolkit on location!

30705551_10156163441740275_8374015943101120512_o.jpgThe My Healthy River Toolkit has been out filming for a series of videos - watch this space!

Thanks to Seed Consulting Services and Charlie Phillpot Photography for help with developing the videos.

The Toolkit is being developed with funding from the SA Government via the 
National Landcare Program. It aims to help people along the river restore wetlands and floodplains to ensure the river is healthy for everyone.


Waikerie Silos Art Mural project leaps to life 

Waikerie-silos-2.jpgNature Foundation SA is excited to announce that the Waikerie silos are one step closer to becoming a beautiful reflection of our River Murray, after signing a grant with the South Australian government.
 
The Waikerie community has shown strong support for the concept of the project by voting for the Silos Art Mural and the project is now officially to be funded by a grant through Fund My Neighbourhood and the Government of South Australia.
 
Local woman, Liz Frankel, who initially nominated the silo art mural project last year, and partnered with Nature Foundation SA as sponsors of the project, said that it is a “huge win for our community and an exciting opportunity”.
 
The project aims to unite the local community, instill a sense of civic pride and attract both interstate and international tourists to the town, in addition to educating people about riverine health.
 
Nature Foundation SA has now established a Waikerie Silo Art Mural Working Group (WSAMWG) to help advise and guide the Silo Art Mural project to fruition. Read more here.

 

Kids on Country – Witchelina camp 19-23 March 2018

“This is the best day of my life, I love this!”
 – Quarney Chester over the UHF Radio on the property tour

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Sixteen high school students from Carlton Area School, Port Augusta and Leigh Creek Area School spent the week immersed in conservation and cultural activities, life skills and building on their talents to increase the capacity for wellbeing, and their communities’ long-term success and development. 

We look forward to the second Kids on Country camp being held at Hiltaba Nature Reserve from 21 May 2018. Watch this space for updates!

The camps were made possible with the generous support of Perpetual’s Impact Philanthropy Program. 
 

Nature Foundation SA is a Partner of Carbon Neutral Adelaide 

We are proud to announce our new partnership with Carbon Neutral Adelaide. As a Partner, Nature Foundation SA has been recognised for our commitment and contribution to reducing emissions, helping to make the City of Adelaide the world’s first carbon neutral city. partner-gradient.jpg
 
The Carbon Neutral Adelaide Partner Program celebrates and empowers business and community organisations to rapidly reduce carbon emissions, provide leadership and encourage others to take action.
 
As the world’s first carbon neutral city, the City of Adelaide will be a showcase for embracing the economic, social and environmental opportunities of responding to climate change, including the uptake of renewable energy and clean, smart technologies.
 
Carbon Neutral Adelaide will provide a platform to attract new investment to the City and the State and create opportunities for local business, innovation and new industries. Carbon Neutral Adelaide will strengthen Adelaide’s reputation as a smart, green, liveable and creative city.
 
To find out more information about the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Partner Program and how you can play your part visit www.carbonneutraladelaide.com.au

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Join the Eagle Team!

“Birds of prey, whose powers of flight and vision, imposing manner and impressive predatory capabilities, have long captured the imagination of humans. The awesome sight of a Wedge-tailed Eagle in flight at close range will leave a lasting impression and may lead to a lifelong fascination.”
       From Stephen Debus [raptor researcher], Birds of Prey of Australia: a field guide

There are few wildlife experiences that match looking deep into the eye of a wild eagle … cropped-eagle-2-(1).jpg
 
Nature Foundation SA is delighted to launch an appeal for donations to create a program to better understand the role of wedge-tailed eagles and other raptors in the recovering ecosystems of outback Australia.
 
At 421,900 hectares Witchelina Nature Reserve in the northern Flinders is the largest of Nature Foundation SA’s nature reserves, and a hidden gem showcasing an impressive variety of South Australia’s magnificent biodiversity.  With its ecosystem recovering after more than 100 years of intensive grazing, it is suspected there are now hundreds of eagles and other raptors on the reserve.
 
Witchelina provides a unique opportunity to understand and examine the lives of our “wedgies” and other iconic raptors such as black-breasted buzzards, whistling kites, swamp harriers and nankeen kestrels as they thrive. How big are their territories? What do they eat?  What is their role as an apex predator, scavenger, and their interaction with other bird species?
 
Nature Foundation SA is seeking to partner with scientists, university students, ecologists, ornithologists and citizen scientists to begin to unravel the mysteries of these majestic birds.
 
The not-for-profit environmental organisation is also offering six places on the “The Eagle Team” to the six highest donors – a unique opportunity to work closely with ecologists and ornithologists to track and observe eagles up close while learning about their behaviour and ecology. 
 
Wedge-tailed eagles are arguably our most famous bird. Loved, hated, admired, feared, majestic, terrifying, powerful and haughty, the eagle holds us spellbound. It is impossible to not be awe-struck by the bird, whether it is perched on a nest or soaring high in the sky.

Birds SA President John Gitsham states that “the Wedge-tailed Eagle is Australia’s most majestic raptor, bringing delight to all birders who see them soaring, often in pairs in the thermals, or being harassed by a trail of magpies or ravens. The “Wedgie” also plays an important ecological role in feral pest control of rabbits and cleaning up other dead animals in the landscape”.

Find out more here.


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Glossy Black-cockatoo recovery program saved by sponsorship

The future of an endangered bird on Kangaroo Island is now more secure after much-needed sponsorship was found for the Glossy Black-cockatoo Recovery Program.
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A $72,500 sponsorship boost from Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KIPT) has provided a last-minute lifeline for the recovery program to continue after the timber company committed to support the program for the 2017-18 financial year.

The funding, through the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board (KI NRM Board), will allow the program’s recovery team to continue to protect the endangered bird, its breeding places and feeding habitat. Click here to read the full media release. Find out more about the Glossy Black-cockatoo recovery program, for which Nature Foundation SA has partnered with Natural Resources Kangaroo Island here.  

Photo courtesy of Ray Tipper

 

Grasswrens: Australian Outback Identities   grsasswrens-book-cover.jpg

Nature Foundation SA is delighted to support a brilliant new book that shines a light on an outback enigma: Grasswrens: Australian Outback Identities, launched on 20 September. 

After more than a decade of chasing the highly elusive grasswren, authors Andrew Black and Peter Gower have put together a comprehensive account of the lives and habits of these mysterious little birds.

Available for only $45 - click here for the order form.



Wildlife of Greater Adelaide wins national praise  wildlife-book.jpg
Congratulations to author James Smith and all involved with the production of Wildlife of Greater Adelaide, which recently won a national accolade. The Whitley Award Committee awarded Wildlife of Greater Adelaide a Certificate of Commendation in the field of Local Guide. The Whitley Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Australian Museum on 4 October. 

Find out more and purchase your copy here.




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!"