Nearly 1,000 community members recently gathered in Mandurah to celebrate the waterways that are the lifeblood of our region at the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council’s annual Wetlands Weekender mini-festival. The main attraction of the festival was a family day at Coodanup Foreshore on Sunday 10 October which featured cultural dancing with the Bindjareb Middars, a dance troupe consisting of young local Noongar people, stalls provided by local environmental groups featuring kids activities, a Dog’s Breakfast event, live music, markets and food trucks.
Friday night dinner at the Sebel launched the festival with a unique twist. Three international guest speakers from Alaska, Mongolia and the Philippines joined the event by Zoom to share their stories of wetland conservation in areas along the migratory path followed by the shorebirds that visit our wetlands each summer. The dinner guests enjoyed a three course meal with each course inspired by a stop that the birds make on their journey, with the local Blue Swimmer Crab entrée being a highlight.
Two tours on Saturday provided festival participants with opportunities to get out and about exploring the wetlands. The first was a cultural tour with Traditional Owner George Walley from Mandjoogoordap Dreaming, concluding with a morning tea featuring bush tucker flavours. The second tour combined a boat trip aboard a Mandurah Cruises vessel with commentary by scientists from Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and BirdLife WA providing insights into the beauty and fragility of our waterways, followed by a walking tour at Creery Wetlands with local eco-tourism business Ways to Nature.
A Science Café event at Tods Café Mandurah on Saturday evening was presented by Peel Bright Minds, offering young science enthusiasts the opportunity to hear from scientists Dr Sorcha Cronin O’Reilly and Dr Steve Fisher and ask questions about their work studying life below water.
The annual festival timing coincides with ‘World Migratory Bird Day’, providing an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the Peel-Yalgorup Wetlands, which includes the Peel-Harvey Estuary, the freshwater lakes Lake McLarty, Lake Mealup and the super salty Yalgorup Lakes. Together this wetlands system is recognised as internationally important through the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for the habitat it provides for water birds, threatened species and communities, such as the Lake Clifton Thrombolites and other natural wonders. The festival included the eighth annual Pave the Way Clean Up, where participants joined PHCC and Coastal Waste warriors to remove litter from the Coodanup Foreshore to prepare for the arrival of migratory birds.
PHCC’s Chairperson Caroline Knight said “We are delighted that the third annual Wetlands Weekender festival was a great success. It was wonderful to see how enthusiastic those attending were to learn about how they can help to care for our natural environment, especially our wetlands. PHCC would like to thank everyone who came along and especially thank the many community groups and volunteers whose time and effort made the events possible”.
The Wetlands Weekender Festival is supported by the PHCC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
Media Contact: Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800