eNewsletter | 8
Greetings from all the staff at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Message from the Board Chairman
As we head into a new season with warm winds from the north and west, park staff are working hard to protect the natural and cultural values of the park.
The Natural and Cultural Resources team are conducting important fauna surveys to support planning for future fuel reduction burns and feral animal control programs.
Visitor and Tourism Services staff are finalising the last of our new signs and the results of our visitor surveys. It has been an action-packed program for our Junior Rangers and College Rangers - keep reading to find out more!
I hope you enjoy the latest edition of the e-newsletter.
Chair, Board of Management
The Natural and Cultural Resources team is conducting fauna surveys to compare how feral and native animals use both burned and unburned sites. They are catching, trapping and releasing small mammals and reptiles. In addition they are observing the tracks of predators on specially prepared pad track strips to assess what areas the predators inhabit and where they are coming from. This has been a chance to see some of our desert fauna such as the hairy-footed dunnart (Sminthopis hirtipes), mulgara (Dasycercus cristicauda) and spinifex hopping mouse (Notomys alexis).
Junior rangers passing on knowledge
Our junior rangers from Mutitjulu and Yulara primary schools have been working together to produce their own multi-media version of the traditional Lungkata (blue tongue lizard) story. Students are creating their own artwork using both traditional and modern methods as well as recording an audio track to accompany their presentation. This has been a great opportunity for developing friendships between students from Mutitjulu and Yulara and sharing culture.
Learning bush medicine skills
Millie Okai demonstrates leaves being ground into powder
Nyangatjatjara College students involved in our college ranger program had the opportunity to make some Irmangka-irmangka ointment. This potent bush medicine is made from the desert fuchsia leaves (Eremophila alternifolia) and is used as a rubbing medicine for aching joints and also as a chest rub for coughs and colds. Elders have also been helping the students develop a seasonal calendar. It's all part of the park's Cultural Heritage Action Plan to support the transfer of knowledge between generations.
We're also pleased 38 school groups visited the park in September - that's a total of 1,832 students and teachers learning all about the natural and cultural values of our park.
What visitors say about us
One of the consistent comments from our recent visitor survey was how friendly and helpful park staff are.
Our park visitor surveys are an important tool for tourism planning - we want to make sure everyone has an unbeatable experience in our World Heritage listed park. In response to previous visitor survey feedback we've made a number of improvements over the past 12 months, including;
- Installing 120 plant identification signs at all visitor sites throughout the park.
- Installing new wildlife signs explaining the solitary, nocturnal and hibernation behaviour of native animals of the arid Red Centre region.
- Creating a double-page spread in the Visitor Guide offering alternative locations to escape the crowds.
In June we surveyed 331 park visitors about their experience visiting the park. We're pleased to say 95 percent of respondents were satisfied with their visit and 94 per cent of them gave us positive feedback about the quality of information offered by their tour guide. That's feedback to be proud of. However, we'll keep working towards a better result.
We'll be sending out the full report to stakeholders soon. If you would like more information please contact the park on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Signs are a really important way to guide visitors around the park and tell stories of the animals, culture and plants in the area. We’re excited to announce more new visitor signs have been installed this month. As well as a new ‘Welcome’ sign at the entry station there are new storyboard signs and audio for the mala, kuniya and lungkata stories, a new fauna sign at the Walpa Gorge platform and maps and plant signs throughout the park. We hope you enjoy them!
Fire fitness training
New best practice guidelines are being implemented for all staff involved in fire fighting in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
A new training requirement based on standards developed by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Authority Council will become part of the park's annual training program. All staff involved in fire fighting will go through a series of medical and fitness assessments to support their preparedness and capability to fight fires.
New rescue equipment
A collapsible lightweight trolley designed for rough terrain has become the newest addition to the park's emergency rescue equipment. Called a ‘mule’, the stretcher device is designed specifically for use in remote areas. Meeting Northern Territory Emergency Services standards, this equipment will help us continue to carry out best practice emergency rescue and recovery operations into the future.