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Yellingbo, Woori Yallock Creek sub-catchment, Australia
Have you ever wanted to contribute to conservation of a threatened species? The Helmeted Honeyeater is Victoria's state emblem and is listed as: 1. Critically endangered (DSE Advisory List Of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna In Victoria - 2007) 2. Threatened (Victorian Govt. Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988) 3. Critically endangered (Federal Govt. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) Can people make a difference to this bird's long-term survival? We believe anyone can. Check out the 'Take action' button on our homepage (www.helmetedhoneyeater.org.au), then contact us for more details.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ambassadors go behind the scenes

The Friends' Ambassadors’ program with Yellingbo and Macclesfield Primary Schools involves 8 students from each school. They experience what is involved in efforts to save our endangered bird emblem and are encouraged to spread the word on what each individual can do to preserve our precious indigenous flora and fauna.

Back in June the students were driven into the reserve in 4wd’s to learn about the special habitat Helmeted Honeyeater’s require, and to gain first-hand experience of the supplementary bird feeding and monitoring program. A tour of our nursery, a presentation on the Leadbeater’s Possum and a bushwalk capped off the day.

On Tuesday 29/7/08 we took a bus to Healesville Sanctuary to meet up with Senior Keeper, Karina Cartwright, who showed us through the captive breeding areas for the Helmeted Honeyeater, Mountain Pygmy-possum, Orange-bellied Parrot, Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby and Tasmanian Devil. A really unique experience to see what goes on behind the scenes. We were very lucky to meet up with one of the sanctuary’s vets, Rupert Baker, who showed us a Mountain Pygmy-possum that he had operated on. Not many people get to see these critically endangered animals. We then headed for the Parrots in Flight exhibition with another keeper, Jason which was a great experience before we reluctantly headed home. The Ambassadors’ loved the day and learnt a lot from Karina. Here are some of their edited comments:

Kristy: "Some of the things that the keepers feed the helmeted honey eaters were millworms (sic. mealworms). Karina told us that they taste like popcorn when fried, and also a milky substance that contains dried pollens and seeds.

I think this was an excellent experience and I hope we get to do it again someday. This is a day I will never forget."

Ryan H: "We were given a challenge to find the lyre birds nest. I was one out of the three to find it was on top of a fern stump."

Harry: "The day ended like any other day except for the fact that I just had the most exiting day of the year. The next day I thought that it would be a normal day but I was crowded with people that wanted to know what I did."

Sarah: "The nest was built in the fork of a tree and it was made from emu feathers which had spider webs wrapped around it to stop it from falling apart and dingo hair on the inside to make it nice and soft for the chicks.

The sanctuary put little cameras inside the avaries. When there is a chick the camera is moved above the nest so the sanctuary can watch the chick to make sure there isn’t any problems.

I still can’t believe how lucky I was to get the chance to go into so many places the public never gets to go and do so many things! I wish I could do it again! THANK YOU FRIENDS OF THE HELMETED HONEYEATER AND HEALSVILLE SANCTUARY!"

Image: The Ambassadors are shown how the video monitoring equipment aids the recovery effort
Photograph by: S. Tardif

ACF Peter Rawlinson Award

The Friends were recently honoured with a Highly Commended award under the ACF Peter Rawlinson Award for our work in conservation. Congratulations to all our volunteers and staff who continue to work with such dedication and enjoyment towards the conservation of the Helmeted Honeyeater and its habitat