Spotlight on landcare

Article image - Spotlight on landcare Phil Worts (left) and Chris Evans enjoying the new interpretative signage.

A recent opening day at a flora and fauna sanctuary in the Shire of Kojonup in Western Australia was a great success.

Attendees at the Myrtle Benn Flora & Fauna Sanctuary opening day could take part in a bush barbecue, walk through native bushland and admire the newly installed directional signage, plant identification markers and interpretive panels.

Over forty people attended the opening including members of the community and a coachload of visitors directed to the sanctuary by the local visitor centre (The Kodja Place).

The upgrade project has been a long time coming and was finally made possible thanks to funding from Lotterywest for the signage and the South West Catchments Council for the barbeque lunch plus many determined volunteers from the local Men’s Shed, the Shire’s work crew and the ‘Friends of Myrtle Benn Group’.

The sanctuary is visited by a high number of people annually (both local and national/international visitors) and many in the Kojonup community also visited the sanctuary in their youth as part of their schooling.

Some community members are even old enough to have been taught by the famous Myrtle Benn herself during her tenure at Kojonup District High School between 1946 and 1972.

In recent years much of the signage and general upkeep of the reserve had deteriorated.

In June 2016 Council welcomed to its ranks Landcare/NRM Officer Jane Kowald who, with assistance from the Shire’s NRM Advisory Committee and other Shire staff, reformed the ‘Friends of Myrtle Benn’ group.

Their efforts paid off when in May 2017 the Shire was fortunate enough to secure funding through Lotterywest to upgrade and replace the signage in the reserve with new track markers, plant identification markers and information panels covering both the Aboriginal and Myrtle Benn’s historical relation to the sanctuary and the flora and fauna found in there.

With the upgrades the sanctuary is sure to be thoroughly enjoyed by many more to come whether they be current school students from Kojonup DHS and St Bernards Primary School (who have already visited the sanctuary several times recently with Jane Kowald to learn about native birds, phascogales and to pick up rubbish) or community members or visitors to Kojonup.