Recharge Farms project community events at Mt Burr Swamp and Hutt Bay are in full swing! Burrowing crays, watercolours, brolgas, and more…

It’s been a very busy couple of months with a large number of volunteer events and school groups at both Hutt Bay and Mt Burr Swamp as part of the Recharge Farms project being delivered in partnership with the Limestone Coast Landscape Board (in case you missed it, catch up on the concept of Recharge Farms here).

In late August, the Mt Gambier based volunteers joined us for a wonderful day of planting at NGT’s Hutt Bay Wetlands Reserve. We planted tea-tree along the now expanded swamp edge (as a result of this year’s restoration works), enjoyed listening to the frogs and birds, and many questions were asked about the burrowing cray chimneys found among the planting. The interest in the burrowing crayfish prompted another volunteer workshop specifically on burrowing crayfish in October.

The next event at Hutt Bay with volunteers was an aquatic macro-invertebrate (water bug) survey. During the survey volunteers identified a number of different macro-invertebrates to determine a wetland a health score. As different types of macro-invertebrates have different sensitivity ratings, the water bugs can be an indicator of wetland health. As expected, most taxa found on the day tolerate a lower quality habitat, as the wetland is at the beginning of its restoration journey. By continuing these surveys each year, we are hoping to see more sensitive species start to move into the wetland s habitat quality improves.

While undertaking the aquatic macro-invertebrate survey we also found Little Galaxias (fish) and we were able to identify three species of tadpoles; namely the Eastern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii), Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peronii) and Common Froglet (Crinia signifera).

Mt Burr Swamp has also seen a few events in recent months as well. Reidy Park Primary School joined us on a bright sunny day in early September. The students took part in planting, bird identification and aquatic macro-invertebrate identification. One of the regular Brolgas that visits the reserve put on show for the students, flying past the large shed window for students to get a good look at its size. After the students returned to school they sent through some feedback on their favourite activities.

  • I really enjoyed the bird find because we got to play bingo with birds. I saw a bird that lives at the Blue Lake and we also saw a bird that is pretty rare in the South East called a Brolga. I liked when we saw the Brolga, we were all excited. We all loved the Bird Find – we used binoculars and when we looked there was also a cool thing that we could look through I am pretty sure it was a telescope.” – Keely
  • In macroinvertebrates our class went down to the big swamp and got given our materials and then got into groups of four it was Max, Sam, Ben and I. We caught a little galaxias (fish). Our group also got a red bug, and also lots of little bugs.” – Harvey
  • The first activity that we did at Mount Burr Swamp was tree planting. In my group we worked well and planted around 50 trees altogether. There was two different ways to plant them, one was to use a shovel and plant it in a bowl shape hole with a tree guard around it and you would use a mallet to hit the stick down so the guard would stay there, the other way was to use something called a pottiputki which was a lot easier to plant the trees with.” – Sam

Mt Burr Swamp also hosted the ‘Watercolour & Wine by the Wetland’ event as part of the Nature Festival of South Australia.

Local artist Julia Reader led a workshop on watercolour painting, drawing inspiration from the flora and fauna found the reserve. Participants sipped on wine, donated by local makers Slow Lane and Moorak and enjoyed afternoon tea, as Julia ran through some introductory activities for participants to understand how watercolour works and the hand coordination required, before moving on to tackle their own masterpieces. After a couple of hours all participants were surprised by what they’d achieved and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.

Watercolour & Wine by the Wetland was supported by the Nature Festival and the Recharge Farms project.

Volunteer and school events at Mount Burr Swamp and Hutt Bay Wetlands are part of the Recharge Farms project, supported by the Limestone Coast Landscape Board, through funding from the South Australian Government’s Landscape Priorities Fund and the Australian Government’s National Water Grid Connections Funding Pathway.

Jess Bourchier