Booderee National Park has just won an internationally acclaimed tourism award. We took out the 'best conservation of cultural heritage' category at the Responsible Tourism Awards 2010, competing against tourism organisations from across the world. It's the first time an Australian entrant has ever won one of the awards!
The announcement was made at the World Travel Market in London on World Responsible Tourism day. The award highlights the Booderee/Wreck Bay community partnership, the growth in Indigenous employment and businesses and the benefits and respect the Wreck Bay community have been able to build through their involvement in tourism.
Summer school holiday activities at Booderee
Ranger Tony showing some school kids a small marsupial
It's time for the ever-popular school holiday activities at Booderee again. The summer program started in mid-December and will run through until the end of January 2011.
This summer we are running even more activities. Old favourites include the campfire yarns with Julie, bird watching with Matt, bush tucker walks with Marley, kids Koori games, guided walks and night time slide shows.
The summer activities follow a great interpretive program in October, when around 500 happy visitors took part. Almost 30 interpretive activities were held over two weeks, with lots of great feedback from visitors.
Hooded plovers at Booderee
Story by James Verrtucci, Year 10 work experience student
Hooded plover with one of three new chicks
Booderee National Park is the home to three new hooded plover chicks! The discovery was made by the natural resource management team in mid-November. This is an exciting find - the first time we have seen hooded plovers successfully hatch in the park.
The chicks looked about a week old and in good health, however at this stage they are extremely vulnerable to predators such as foxes and dangers including 4WDs and other vehicles.
The hooded plover is a medium sized bird, found in coastal areas. It is a member of the Charadriidae family, which covers plovers, dotterels and lapwings. It is only found in Australia and lives along the south coast of Australia, including the southern tip of WA, the south-eastern coast of NSW, along the coast of Victoria and the entire coast of Tasmania. The bird's natural habitat is along coastal beaches and saline lagoons as well as freshwater marshes and lakes. It feeds on the small morsels of food that wash up on shore and are found on the banks of the lakes and rivers - mainly marine worms, molluscs, crustaceans, insects, water plants and seeds.
This species of plover is listed as critically endangered in New South Wales, with fewer than 20 breeding pairs remaining in our state.
In November, a number of Booderee staff took part in a national hooded plover count run by the New South Wales Government. It's great to see that so much effort is being put into the monitoring and recovery of our native shorebirds. Our newly hatched little friends are a good sign for the hooded plover population in the area and we hope to see more in future breeding seasons!
The little peninsula in the sea that is Booderee National Park has almost been underwater lately. So far it's been the wettest year since 1998!
We have just received the longest period of sustained rainfall in the past 15 years. The park's soils have not dried out since late May, so the underlying water table is being replenished and lakes and waterholes are refilling after falling to extremely low levels. The frogs are happy, the tortoises are no longer swimming in mud and on sunny days the beaches are as pristine a playground as ever.
For those interested in some of the statistics, the total rainfall registered in Booderee for November was 290.2 mm. By comparison the average November rainfall is 84.3 mm. Rainfall above 200 mm in November has been recorded only six times since 1899 and this is the first time since 1995.
Total rainfall at Booderee so far this year is 1414 mm - higher than our average annual rainfall of 1241.1 mm.
The park is looking great after all the rain. The spring flowering of the heaths was a vibrant display of colours.
As Christmas and the New Year approach, we hope you'll spend a little time with us in our lush paradise!