Could you be a wilderness warrior?
There’s something special about the Western Australian wilderness. From the beautiful scraggly bush to bold red Pindan dirt, and tall Tingle trees — our parks are all wonderfully different. And, that’s what makes them so special.
Our bushland is beautifully biodiverse
September was National Biodiversity Month. You may have been wondering what biodiversity is, and how it impacts you.
According to the Australian Museum, “Biodiversity comes from two words Bio meaning life and diversity meaning variability. Biodiversity is the variety of all living things; the different plants, animals and microorganisms, the genetic information they contain and the ecosystems they form”. As humans, we depend on biodiversity for food, medicine, products, well-being and enjoyment — it’s the web of life. In WA, we’re lucky to have some of the richest and most unusual biodiversity on Earth. Take the South West, for example, this is one of only 36 internationally recognised biodiversity hotspots. This area is so rich in plants that almost 80% of the 8000 species of plants that grow here only grow in this corner of WA. You can’t find these leafed beauties anywhere else in the world.
See it firsthand and take a walk through the botanical wonderland of Fitzgerald River National Park. You’ll enjoy beauty of the park’s diverse plant life and stunning vistas.
There’s a wilderness warrior in all of us
For Western Australians, the bush and beach are our calling card. They are our daily playground and the place we call home. Luckily, we love spending time in nature because this is one of the best ways that we can start to protect it. The more connected we are to the land and our special place in it, the more likely we are to take responsibility for it and understand what is at stake. Every time you camp, hike, kayak, ride or join a Spring into Parks event — you’re taking positive action towards a park-filled future (and, having plenty of fun along the way).
Many nature lovers feel the call to do more for the environment they love spending time in. If you’re in that camp, we’ve rounded up five activities to help you become a WA Parks Wilderness Warrior.
Love your local
Bushcare is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a chance to care for your local patch of bush or beach. Take part and you’ll join an established team of planting and weeding everyday heroes who are protecting local habitats. Bushcare is often run by a trained leader. This ensures that each volunteering event is safe, and it allows you to learn about plants and animals along the way.
A great example of a very successful bushcare group is Friends of Yellagonga Regional Park. This group have been running in Perth since 1993. To find your local group, it’s best to check in with your local council. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
Be a campground host
Want to help people have the holiday of a lifetime and protect WA parks while you’re at it? Becoming a campground host is the job for you. Campground hosts get to stay in some of Western Australia’s most beautiful spots for free for extended periods.
While hosts get to have fun, they are charged with some important duties. As a host, you’ll welcome people to the park, share information about local plants and animals, provide general information, and answer enquiries. This program is run by the Parks and Wildlife Service. It’s perfect for people who love camping and the great outdoors. Find a campground to host here.
Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of support from the Parks and Wildlife Service staff. They’ll be available face to face sometimes, or by radio, if you’re remote.
Enjoy a seaside (or tree-side) scavenge
Spotting rubbish while you’re out enjoying pristine parks is always a heart-sinking moment. The good news is, you don’t have to wait until the next Keep Australia Beautiful Week to do something about it. To make a positive change, all you need is a rubbish bag, gloves, and some spare time. Many people pick up rubbish while they are hiking, beach walking, swimming or snorkelling.
If you’d like to do something more structured, you can register a Clean Up Australia Day Event. They’ll give you everything you need to get your clean up event off the ground.
Go eco, but luxe
You don’t have to collect trash, plant trees, or host an entire campsite to be a wilderness warrior. You can make conscious choices about where and how you spend your hard-earnt holiday dollars.
Spending time in an eco-retreat or on a sustainable experience can have positive benefits for you, the environment, and the community. Plus, a night of glamping means that you get to sleep under the stars without the stress of setting up the tent (unless you like that kind of thing). One of our favourite glamping experiences has to be Karijini Eco Retreat which is nestled in Karijini National Park. Waking up and watching the bush come alive from the foot of your very comfortable bed is a truly incredible experience.
Helping from home
You can protect local wilderness, without even leaving your backyard. Protecting and improving the biodiversity in your garden can help to improve the biodiversity of your suburb. So, how do you do it?
- Plant natives
If you want more friendly feathered visitors of the bird kind, you’ll need to plant a native garden. Gardens filled with native plants create important habitats and nourishment for local fauna. Plus, native plants are typically easier to maintain than other plants because they love Western Australia’s unique soils and climates.
- Bring in the bees
Bees are the small but mighty heroes of biodiversity! Bees and other insects play a critical role in maintaining ecosystems, and in particular our food supplies. Anything that you can do to attract and nourish your local pollinators will have a positive impact on your local environment.
If you’re feeling extra creative you could build a bee hotel in your garden, it’s an easy and simple way to give native Australian bees a place to rest on their pollen-collecting journey. Find out how to create your own Air Bee n’ Bee, here.
- Be a weed whacker
Invasive weeds and plants pose a significant threat. They damage natural landscapes, crowd out native plants, invade our waterways and reduce the productivity of our bushland, forests and agricultural activities. Find out how to spot weeds by chatting to your local garden centre or joining a bushcare group.
- Become a member
The WA Parks Foundation Members help us to conserve and protect Western Australia’s national parks and reserves, join here.
Want more wilderness warrior and WA Parks inspiration? Sign up to the WA Parks Foundation newsletter and we’ll keep you in the loop.