‘Friendly’ visit to Kangaroo Island by Friends of Parks Board

BOARD VISIT: Friends of Parks Board, local Friends and DEW staff at Flinders Chase, from left: Mike Barth, Peter Hammond, Rick Andrews, Wendy Penhall, Gill Peacey, Kate Buckley, Pat Brooksby, Grant Pelton, Carole Pinnock, Caroline Paterson, John Hodgson, Bev Maxwell, Mike Penhall, Josh Mulvaney, Duncan MacKenzie, Andrew Winkler and Rob Ellis. Photo: Colin Wilson.
BOARD VISIT: Friends of Parks Board, local Friends and DEW staff at Flinders Chase, from left: Mike Barth, Peter Hammond, Rick Andrews, Wendy Penhall, Gill Peacey, Kate Buckley, Pat Brooksby, Grant Pelton, Carole Pinnock, Caroline Paterson, John Hodgson, Bev Maxwell, Mike Penhall, Josh Mulvaney, Duncan MacKenzie, Andrew Winkler and Rob Ellis. Photo: Colin Wilson.

The Parndana campus of KICE last year was successful in winning one of two inaugural Tom Hands Educational Scholarships, sponsored by Friends of Parks Incorporated.

This enabled Miss Reynolds’ Year 2/3 class to carry out a multi-faceted research project into bandicoots.

Their final report was recently presented to the Friends of Parks Board, who were delighted with the results. 

Friends of Parks Incorporated is a South Australian umbrella organisation of over 110 volunteer groups dedicated to enhancing the conservation values and visitor experiences in our parks and reserves. 

Last week the Board visited Kangaroo Island accompanied by Grant Pelton, acting group executive Director Parks and Regions, and Gill Peacey, manager of the Volunteer Support Programs Unit of the Department of Environment and Water in Adelaide.

They were keen to meet with the four local Friends of Parks groups and also with the successful ‘bandicoot’ students.

In the Flinders-Baudin Research Centre at Flinders Chase, local Friends briefed the Board about their interests, activities, achievements and concerns.

High on the agenda was discussion about plans for celebrating the 100th anniversary of the gazetting of Flinders Chase National Park in October next year.

This promises to be a fantastic event so cancel your travel plans off the island now.

Next stop was Parndana campus. Students were busy constructing ideal bandicoot habitat out of bits of cardboard, cork, paper and glue and it wasn’t long before the adults were at least as engrossed as the children, working out how to build fences to keep out cats and grow grass trees as shelter.

The scholarship enabled the purchase of a couple of motion-detecting cameras and the students have learned how to set these up and put little treats in front of them to entice bandicoots in front of the lens.

There haven’t been any bandicoots captured by the cameras yet, but the students have learned how to identify typical bandicoot diggings and it turns out that a few of the shy critters regularly visit local suburban lawns.

We now have an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of bandicoot ambassadors in Parndana, ready to spread the word about these beautiful and elusive native animals.

In the new airport departure lounge, Friends of Parks Board Chair Duncan McKenzie was ecstatic.

“That’s the best day I’ve spent in years!” he said.

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