National Science Week – Friends’ Event
Sat 13 - Sun 14 August 2022
NOTE: Due to weather forecasts predicting wet weather 7-10th August and probable closure of Pabelup Drive/ Twertup Track, the Twertup events have been transferred to Bremer Bay and the Quaalup Homestead. Overnight accommodation must be booked directly with the Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat on 9837 4124.
National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology. This year the Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park are holding the following activities to encourage an interest in science pursuits. Both members and the general public are welcome to attend, and we encourage younger people to come along and be fascinated by this exceptional national park.
Saturday 13th August at Bremer Bay:
10 am – morning tea (BYO), meet at Paperbarks picnic/BBQ area adjacent to Bremer Beach. Bring a chair.
11 am – Cuneo Drive lookout whale watching. Cetacean researcher Dr Kate Sprogis will talk about whales and dolphins as they migrate along the South Coast. Bring binoculars.
1 pm – Discover Hooded Plovers. Join local bird enthusiast Anne Gadsby as she searches the known hiding places for these vulnerable shore birds. Meet at Bremer Beach.
Saturday 13th August Quaalup:
7.30 pm – Vanessa Lipianin, FRNP Senior Operations Officer and owl enthusiast, will guide a search for these night predators near the Quaalup Homestead. Bring walking shoes and torch.
Sunday 14th August at Quaalup
8.30 am – Botanical Walk. Join local botanist, Dr Gillian Craig on a 4 km walk starting at the Quaalup Homestead. Bring walking shoes, hat and water.
Note: Access to Twertup is via 10km 4WD track from Quiss Rd/Pabelup Drive which is closed during wet soil conditions. Point Ann may also be closed in wet weather. These events will be held from the Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat if there are road closures. Please check www.fitzgeraldcoast.com.au/explore/road-closures.aspx and the Friends’ website www.fitzgeraldfriends.org.au for updates.
This is a BYO everything event. Overnight shared accommodation is available at the Twertup Field Studies Centre (max 16 beds) or BYO swag/tent (limited to 30 people total) – bookings essential. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to book Saturday night at Twertup. If the event is moved due to wet weather, overnight accommodation must be booked directly with the Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat on 9837 4124.
Join the Dots - Inclusive Landcare Practices | Shandell Cummings & Alison Lullfitz | TEDxKinjarlingmings.
A recent TEDx talk featuring the landscapes, plants and human history of the Fitzgerald River National Park and the broader south coast, including the spectacular Royal Hakea.
Copy and paste the link
Members Weekend - Spring clean up at Twertup
Sat 3rd September - Sun 4th September
Note: Access to Twertup is via 10km 4WD track from Quiss Rd/Pabelup Drive which is closed during wet soil conditions. Please check www.fitzgeraldcoast.com.au/explore/road-closures.aspx and the Friends’ website www.fitzgeraldfriends.org.au for updates.
This is a BYO everything event. Overnight shared accommodation is available at the Twertup Field Studies Centre (max 16 beds) or BYO swag/tent (limited to 30 people total) – bookings essential. Please RSVP to email@example.com to book Saturday night at Twertup.
ELEMENTAL – an art exhibition featuring paintings inspired by the Fitzgerald River National Park by emerging artist Bridget Seaton
Fremantle artist Bridget Seaton seeks to portray the Australian bush in its imperfect beauty and has a particular reverence for trees. When bushwalking and camping she paints in her sketchbook, committing places deep into memory. On return to the studio she embarks on larger pieces of work, drawing on her memories of places visited. The work in her upcoming exhibition ELEMENTAL is inspired by The Fitzgerald River National Park, The Peak Charles National Park and the bumper wildflower season we had in 2021.
The Fitzgerald River National Park holds a special place in her heart and despite only having lived in WA for 12 years Bridget has visited the park at least 6 times, noting its ever-changing landscapes, noticing the fluctuating water levels in the inlets, the plant life after dry years and wet years and how the park responds after fire. In summer 2020 the Hammersley Inlet dried up to a salt lake and although saddened by this change she also noticed the stark beauty of the place. The dry conditions revealed a different face of the inlet and she was particularly taken by the stoic paperbark trees that were clinging stubbornly to life on the edge. Bridget then returned in September 2021 to see it full again and the park awash with flowers. She has made a series of paintings about the inlet in its dry state and also the park in its full spring glory. The exhibition is open from the 17 – 29 May and can also be viewed online on her website.
Historical photos show impact of fires in the Park
The Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park (FRNP) are seeking early photos of vegetation in this park which clearly show the density of obvious plants such as Royal Hakea (Hakea victoria) and banksias from identifiable locations. We will then try to relocate the same view to obtain a sequence of images over time to help determine the effect of fire on particular species.
An example is shown of Royal Hakeas along the No Tree Hill walk trail. The first photo (left) was taken in the 1980s prior to a wildfire started by lightning in 1989. The second photo (right), taken of the same scene in 2019, shows a considerable decline in density of Royal Hakea. This is attributed to an intervening prescribed burn in 2003, which meant that the hakeas were only 14 years old when they were burnt again, without an adequate seed bank for full recovery.
The FRNP is recognised as having a high conservation value and the Friends are concerned that the frequency of prescribed burns and escapes are causing short fire-return intervals. The most recent occurred in June 2019 when a burn for “bushfire risk management, biodiversity management” in the wilderness area escaped and burnt the Thumb Peak range, resulting in a fire interval of only 21 years. The impact on the Threatened Ecological Communities and Threatened species that occur there is currently unknown.
Most of the vegetation in the park is now less than 30 years old (see map overleaf). Although the park’s management plan specifically refers to the establishment of a Research and Monitoring Group to inform fire management, the executives of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) are against its formation. The Friends are pleased however, that following a workshop initiated by the Friends, the DBCA have funded $35,876 for their research scientists to develop a model for defining ecologically acceptable fire-return intervals for 18 susceptible plant species in the South Coast region.
The Friends are also pursuing their intent of providing a travel scholarship to post-graduate student to study the population ecology of Royal Hakea in the park.
If you have any photos, preferably pre-2000 of iconic plants in the FRNP with known location and approximate date of capture, please email them at low resolution to firstname.lastname@example.org or post prints/ transparencies to:
Friends of the FRNP
PO Box 199
Please provide your return address as these will be scanned and sent back to you.
Local tree frog
Members enjoying a break.