WA conservationist educates and inspires

The WA Parks Foundation is fortunate to have the support and involvement of 43 Ambassadors – people who love WA’s parks, inspiring in others an appreciation of the uniqueness and value of our natural environment. They have diverse interests and bring wide ranging knowledge, expertise and experience to their role with the Foundation.

Park Ambassador Simon Cherriman is an environmental biologist, educator and professional filmmaker.  For more than 15 years, the conservation of Australia’s largest bird of prey, the magnificent wedge tailed eagle has been his particular passion, unlocking their secrets through research, tracking, filming their behaviour and tackling heights to reach their eyries.

Simon Cherriman, Managing Director, iNSiGHT Ornithology with wedge tailed eagle | Image courtesy of Simon Cherriman

Simon runs his own small business, iNSiGHT Ornithology, which specialises in bird research, photography and education.

To educate and inspire the broader community, particularly school children, about the importance of wildlife conservation and waste management, iNSiGHT Ornithology established “The Re-Cyc-Ology Project” in 2012.

This initiative focuses on the construction and installation of artificial nest-boxes, reaching out to the community to showcase the actions people can take to be involved in practical, sustainable solutions to environmental problems. Workshops mainly target school-aged children but have also been delivered to a range of interested groups.

A great diversity of Australian wildlife relies on hollow cavities in native trees to meet their nesting or roosting requirements.

“Such hollows take hundreds of years to form naturally, but sadly, due to the massive land-clearing since European settlement in Australia, a huge number have been lost,” Simon said.

The kids are fed – artificial nesting box in use by black cockatoos | Credit: Simon Cherriman

“The scarcity of nesting sites for cavity-breeding wildlife has had a severe impact, especially for charismatic species such as Black Cockatoos, whose ideal nest-hollows take an excruciating 270 years to form naturally.

“Humans do not normally delight in the idea of aging, but watching a tree turn from a 20-year-old into something that is functionally over 200 changes the way people think.”

Re-Cyc-Ology nest-box building workshops provide information on species of Australian wildlife that use tree-hollows, the importance of preserving old trees containing them, and how nest-boxes made from recycled materials can be used as a substitute when natural hollows are not available. Importantly, they also emphasise how nest-boxes play a role in engaging the community with local bushland, creating a strong sense of custodianship.

As well as construction and installation of nest boxes for wildlife, Simon Cherriman produces wildlife documentaries, writes both popular and scientific articles, conducts guided interpretational walks, and is available as an educational and motivational speaker.

For more information, click here.