Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : January 4th 2018 Contents THE ADVERTISER, THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 2018 - PAGE 7
52 - 54 Thompson Ave, Cowes
16 Boathaven Grove, San Remo
12 Norman Drive, Cowes
117 Silverleaves Avenue, Silverleaves
Office of the
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THE future of Phillip Island's threatened Hooded
Plovers is looking up, with a positive start to this
year's breeding season.
Up until mid-December there have been 16
chicks recorded on our beaches out of a total of
19 nests, which is the second highest number of
chicks ever recorded to this period.
"The successful outcomes that we are seeing with
the Hooded Plover population here on Phillip Is-
land are due in large part to the Nature Parks and
the local community working together," said Jes-
sica McKelson, Phillip Island Nature Parks' conser-
"Our rangers have been protecting the hoodies on
the island's beaches for several years now and have
achieved excellent results, but it is no coincidence
that we have enjoyed some of our greatest successes
since the community has really come on board and
taken this threatened species under their wing."
Hooded Plover chicks are extremely vulnerable
as their nests lay in the sand dunes, and as soon as
they hatch they must travel long stretches of beach
in search of food and also to get to the water to re-
The parents do their best to distract predators for
the 35 days it takes for the chicks to fly, but we can
also play a huge role in protecting these birds until
they fledge, or leave the nest.
The Nature Parks has been actively managing
threats to the Hooded Plovers through a range of
measures including monitoring, creation of nest
refuges, and the island-wide eradication of foxes
which has benefitted so many animal species.
"We established the Hooded Plover Watch in
1998, and these local volunteer wardens spend
time not only monitoring the birds but also educat-
ing other community members and visitors, giving
them some simple, key actions we can all adopt
such as: Stay out of sand dunes and where pos-
sible, walk close to the water's edge, and keep clear
of nest areas."
"One of the most important rules is having no
dogs on the beach unless signed, especially during
summer when dogs are only allowed on designated
beaches in the early morning and evening.
"If on a beach where dogs are allowed, please
keep them on a leash at all times, with the exception
of any designated, seasonal off leash areas."
The Hooded Plover population has increased
from a low of 21 in 2001 to around 50 today, with a
total of 13 chicks fledging on Phillip Island last year.
This number is well above the average and also
above the target of eight fledglings per year which is
the minimum required to maintain this population
"It is vital that our local community continues to
lead by example, acting responsibly on our beaches
so that our visitors also have the opportunity to play
"Working together, we can achieve great results
for this threatened species which is in decline in
many other coastal areas," concluded Jessica.
If you are interested in becoming a member of
Hooded Plover Watch, please contact the Nature
Parks' volunteer coordinator at volunteers@pen-
The Phillip Island Nature Parks Board met on
Thursday, November 30 and Thursday, December
21 to evaluate the progress of a range of projects,
receive updates on research and fire readiness,
receive the Animal Ethics Committee Annual Re-
port, review community and staff feedback on the
Draft Strategic Plan, and to welcome new staff
The board welcomed the feedback received dur-
ing the community consultation process on the
draft 2018-23 Strategic Plan, and thanked mem-
bers of the local community for engaging in this
important planning process. The board is revising
the strategic plan, incorporating much of the valu-
able input received.
The board received an update from the conser-
vation team, and was impressed with the reports
on research currently being undertaken, which in-
cludes a study of domestic cats on Phillip Island.
This GPS-based tracking study will develop a de-
tailed understanding of the behaviours and travel
habits of domestic cats within our community, and
the associated risks to them of road trauma, con-
tracting diseases such as toxoplasmosis from feral
cats, and unwanted litters which could contribute
to an increase in the feral cat population.
The board received an update on the Nature
Parks' fire prevention, preparedness, response
and recovery actions outlined in the Fire Manage-
ment Plan 2016-2021 and Fire Operations Plan.
The board acknowledged the significant prepara-
tion ahead of the bushfire season, and looked for-
ward to continued participation in the Bass Coast
Municipal Fire Management Committee, con-
sisting of members from Country Fire Authority
(CFA), Victoria Police, Parks Victoria, Forest Fire
Management Victoria (DELWP), Bass Cast Shire
Council, VicRoads, and the Nature Parks, working
together with Ausnet Services, Westernport Water
and South Gippsland Water to plan for potential
bushfire emergencies in Bass Coast.
Animal Ethics Committee
The Board received the annual report of the Ani-
mal Ethics Committee (AEC), which is responsible
for overseeing the ethicality and adequacy of the
Nature Parks' research procedures in order to en-
sure the best long-term interests of Phillip Island's
The committee is chaired by Dr Jenny Hibble
and operates independently of the board. The
board sincerely thanked Dr Hibble and AEC com-
mittee members for their outstanding contribu-
The board noted that the transaction for the pur-
chase of the neighbouring property known locally
as the Vegter farm had now been finalised, and
looked forward to extending the Nature Parks' ex-
isting restoration and revegetation practices seam-
lessly into this farmland.
The board was delighted with the large num-
ber of Bass Coast and Phillip Island businesses
who featured prominently at the 2017 Tourism
Awards, and congratulates the following winners:
• Bass Coast Shire Council (WINNER - Local
Government Award for Tourism)
• Wildlife Coast Cruises (SILVER - Tour &
• Phillip Island Helicopters (FINALIST - Tour &
• Phillip Island & Bass Coast Visitor Informa-
tion Centre Network (SILVER - Visitor Information
• Amaze N’ Things (WINNER – Major Tourist At-
• Phillip Island GP Circuit (BRONZE – Major
Board members attended a special White Rib-
bon event immediately following November's
board meeting, where Ken Lay, former Chief of
Victoria Police and recently appointed Lieuten-
ant-Governor of Victoria shared his insights and
knowledge into the important issue of men's vio-
lence against women.
One of Mr Lay's key messages was that the very
core of the solution to this problem is the promo-
tion and creation of a balance of power between
men and women, and workplaces have the op-
portunity and an obligation to help achieve this.
Workplaces are fundamental to fostering healthy,
respectful relationships between men and women
and promoting gender equality. As a White Ribbon
Accredited Workplace, the Nature Parks is endea-
vouring to lead by example and raise awareness of
this vital issue.
The board was delighted to hear of the progress
made on a range of projects being undertaken at
Churchill Island. The new bathrooms in the Visi-
tor Centre are now fully operational, along with
some shedding and storage solutions. The visi-
tor experience has been enhanced at the Shearing
Shed with the addition of tiered seating in this all-
Following a conservation audit in 2016, and with
some funding assistance from the Living Heritage
Grants program, some of the buildings in the heri-
tage precinct are undergoing some much-needed
restoration. This important work is being carried
out by qualified professionals under the supervi-
sion of an independent, accredited supervisor to
ensure the protection of the area's cultural heri-
tage. This Board looks forward to this work being
completed in early 2018.
Welcome to new staff
The board welcomed two recent appointments
to significant roles within the Nature Parks.
Jessica McKelson joined the team as conserva-
tion manager after having spent the last 17 years
in Australia and Indonesia establishing eco-tour-
ism, community development, and conservation
programs. After several years supervising the pri-
mate department at Melbourne Zoo and manag-
ing the Sumatran Orangutan Quarantine Centre,
Jessica brings her advanced skills in operations,
animal welfare, staff development, and visitor
and stakeholder relations to the Conservation
Kate Adams joined the team as Visitor Experi-
ence Manager. Kate has over 20 years' experience
managing nature-based tourism services, educa-
tion and interpretation, and visitor operations
across a range of State and National Parks.
Kate's knowledge of the tourism industry and
stakeholder relations, combined with her expe-
rience in managing visitor and tourism services,
provides a strong background to support the de-
velopment of quality visitor experiences.
Phillip Island Nature Parks Board Update
Community takes hooded plovers under their wing
The parents of hooded plover chicks do their
best to distract predators for the 35 days it takes
for the chicks to fly, but we the community can
also play a huge role in protecting these birds
until they leave the nest after that period of time.
The community is being urged to take ex-
tra care on Phillip Island's beaches, while
hooded plovers are nesting and the chicks
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