Part Six of the Biodiversity Guides complete, Doug and I are now looking at more animal based projects.
Look at this gorgeous spoonbill photographed by Rick Playle at Railway Dam recently for our cover. Wonderful!
This is an excellent guide and we are really proud of it. As always with these projects we hope they give people a strong understanding of the endemic plant and animal life at these locations, coupled with a love of the landscape.
Part five of the biodiversity project has bunny-hopped the Toolibin Lake guide, but coincided with the state government's announcement to build a 1000km 'rabbit proof fence' (read cat and fox proof fence) around Dryandra Woodland, one of the last remaining habitats of the numbat in Australia. Sean Van Alphen and I discussed this guide for a while, and did a trial in social media circles which was really well received. Sean's photos are fantastic, and his techniques for spotting numbat are evocative. He has worked with Australian Geographic, ABC, and The Guardian, and has probably spotted more numbats in the wild than many DPaW staff. Cool animal based project which was fun to design.
I signed off on the Yilliminning Rock guide today, and it may the prettiest one yet. I adore the painting-with-light starry image on the front. The skies in country WA are spectacular.
In it we look at remnant vegetation, discuss the now destroyed exfoliated rock which was the habitat of the once prolific rock dragon lizard and various lichen. We introduce kwongan sandplain/gravel country, and the way a large range of plants have changed the soil by controlling access to soil phosphorus.
Most importantly I think we have provided factual information about the destruction of the rock dragon lizard by 4WD vehicles. Doug and I present this information without being didactic or lecturing, and in the context of the other information about the biodiversity of the location it is compelling.
A great little feature of all the guides are the sightseeing tips, and they can be quite irreverent. This may be my favourite tip:
I finished formatting the first volume of the 2016 booklet for wildflower identification in Foxes Lair today. Doug Sawkins did a huge job in photographing all the endemic wildflowers in the reserve (see the World Wildlife Fund information pertaining to the South West Australia Ecoregion), labelling the images with common and scientific names, and included some supplementary identifying features, like petal size or soil type. Across the final four pages of the 21 page booklet is a comprehensive list of the trees in the Foxes Lair arboretum. Around 240 flowers are identified in this booklet, which is available as a hard copy or in digital form.
Part Two of the six part biodiversity marketing project is complete.
Doug Sawkins and I have been working closely on this project for several months. Doug is the developer of the DAWFWA's My Crop App. He's a published author on things that grow out of the soil, and holds the record as the staff member who worked with the department for 50 years, among many other things. He's also my mentor in all things related to biodiversity in WA, although I believe I can be an exasperating mentee because I keep reminding him that we need to package this stuff up for a general public audience.
The aim of the six part series of guides is to give people an appreciation for the biodiversity of south west WA, which is so well deserving of it's classification as the Southwest Australia Ecoregion (SWAE), one of 34 international biodiversity hotspots. When people have an appreciation for biodiversity, they protect it, and they demand the government protect it (or continue to protect it, as the case may be).
So far we have focused on Foxes Lair, and Yornaning Dam. Next I move on to developing the research Doug has given me on Yiliminning Rock (we hope we can help the rock dragon lizards return to the area). Following that is the Ramsar listed Toolibin Lake. I sit on the Lake Toolibin Recovery Team, and Doug has been poking around the dry lake for a million years, so this will be a really great one to work on. There are some incredible features to Toolibin Lake and the surrounding area.
It would be thoroughly remiss of me not to give a plug to the Foxes Lair website, which is the first project Doug and I worked on together. Since he has been in charge of the website, it has totally changed, so I barely recognise it anymore. But it gets lots of traffic and it is a wealth of information specific to Foxes Lair, which has a huge following of Foxies (Friends of foxes Lair), who are passionate about flora and fauna. All of that activity is really due to Doug's commitment to biodiversity and environmental protection, which is thoroughly contagious.
"The Department of Agriculture and Food’s Doug Sawkins and Shahajahan Miyan compare Detective Doug with the LUCID tool." Circa 2009.
Doug has aged since this photo, and I am told it has a lot to do with me.
© Geire Kami. All Rights Reserved. Australia 2017.