Nature Parks Community Open Day A Hit

It was record numbers at Phillip Island Nature Parks’ tenth annual Community Open Day as locals came out in support to enjoy the fun and sunshine. 

Over 1,200 visitors flocked to Churchill Island in the morning to enjoy the fun of the farm including Old Time Games, Blacksmithing, Kate’s Garden Tour and the Sheep Shearing. The Community Conservation Heroes Expo was also popular with Nature Parks stalls promoting conservation, living with wildlife and reconciliation alongside conservation and community groups showcasing their fabulous work for visitors. Stallholders included Landcare, Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre, CFA, Totally Renewable Phillip Island, Boomerang Bags and Local Clothing. 

Volunteers were also a feature of the day at each site spinning and guiding visitors at Churchill Island, and speaking with visitors on the boardwalks at the Koala Conservation Reserve and at the Nobbies Centre. 

The Welcome To Country and Smoking Ceremony at midday featured a yidaki (didgeridoo) performance and reflected the Nature Parks’ commitment to reconciliation and truth telling and working together to care for Country. Uncle Mik Edwards led the ceremony alongside Uncle Shane Clarke and Eric Edwards on yidaki. 

This was followed by a Conservation Dog Demonstration as Craig Bester and Stu Murphy put the fox and feral cat detection dogs through their paces to the delight of visitors. 

At the Koala Conservation Reserve, it was busy from the time the centre opened its doors with locals enjoying two guided walks with the rangers including Ranger Dan sharing his personal story of working with koalas affected by the 2020 bushfires. 

The Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies Centre was buzzing with locals enjoying discovering or re-discovering the exciting exhibition. Members of the Nature Parks research team Dr Duncan Sutherland and Ross Holmberg showcased their work on seal research and Threatened Species accompanied by live music from Shaun Kenny. 

In the early evening, Little Penguin experts Dr Andre Chiaradia and Paula Wasiak from the Nature Parks’ research department led ‘The Private Lives of Penguins’ tour. Locals learned about the lives of little penguins and the important world-leading scientific research programs run by the Nature Parks’ Conservation Team which are supported by the work of the Phillip Island Penguin Foundation. On the day, Local Clothing donated a percentage of funds raised at their stall to the work of this important charity.

There was also an exclusive opportunity for the community to meet Ranger Skye and go behind the scenes to get a glimpse of all the magic of the phenomenon of Penguin Live TV for we flicked the switch to stream the Little Penguins live to the world! The Penguin Parade was a complete sell out and as the sun faded in the sky, lucky locals settled in to marvel at the Little Penguins coming ashore after a day’s fishing and returning to their burrows. 

The Nature Parks team thanks everyone for being a part of the day to mark the annual event in their diary for the third Sunday in March next year. See you there! 

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Check out the photo gallery here:

Eric Edwards on Yidaki5 The Isles Family from Cape Paterson at Koalas COD 21 Nick Kohler
Sack races Chantal Darcy Tom Xavier and Indi with Ranger Vivien COD21 Paula Waisak with Private Lives of Penguins Tour