Mandurah Eco-educational non-for-profit

Learn more about nature in Mandurah

Mandurah has many protected waterways, national parks, and nature reserves that are home to various species of marine animals, birds, and wildlife.  Shannon Lawson from the Mandurah Mail spoke with local tour operator Salt & Bush Eco Tours about their Mandurah Eco-educational non-for-profit.

Salt and Bush Eco Tours owner Jamie van Jones and her partner, Sebastian have a passion for the environment which is evident in everything they do.

Not satisfied with simply running an ecotourism business, they have now decided to share their knowledge and love of nature with the wider community by starting a not-for-profit.

“We thought we needed to do something more than just our business,” Jamie said. “We started Swanlandia Inc., which is all about ecology education. It’s inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards.”

The name comes from Swanland which was an early name suggested for Western Australia, and the term Landia which has the urban definition of ‘A fictional relationship to a non-fictional place’.

“Our mission is to connect people to the natural world through fun and educational experiences,” Jamie elaborated. “We believe that if you experience nature in a way that opens your eyes, then as you learn more about it, you fall in love with it and will want to conserve and protect what you love.”

Mandurah-Eco-educational-non-for-profit
Mandurah Eco-educational non-for-profit

Jamie and Sebastian say running Salt and Bush Eco Tours and working as naturalist guides for the last seven years around the world, they have seen first hand the positive impact experiences in nature can have on people. They wanted to make that accessible to youth.

Salt and Bush Eco Tours and Swanlandia Inc. are run as a hybrid-eco-enterprise.

“Both our business and not-for-profit have the same aim of sharing about the natural world in fun and educational ways,” Jamie said. “We just have different methods of achieving it. We are going to have 10 percent of Salt and Bush Eco Tour’s profits go towards funding programs for Swanlandia Inc. programs.

“We are also applying for grants locally, to help grow our not-for-profit dream into fruition.”

The couple are currently awaiting the outcome of a grant application through the City of Mandurah which they will find out about in early May.

“Even if we’re not successful we’ll keep trying to find another way to go head, even if it’s smaller to begin with and we work our way up to what we want to eventually do,” Jamie said.

The first step will be to start a group called the Cygnets which will be for six to eight-year-olds. There will be fortnightly meetings with hands on learning such as finding out how many frogs there are in a local wetland by identifying their calls, then learning about their role in echo system. Similar to scouts, children will put their learned skills to the test in their own neighbourhoods to earn badges and progress through the program.

“We’ll cover all kinds of things, from birds to fungi and mammals,” Jamie explained. “We hope to grow as an organisation to offer programs to all ages. We believe citizen science is a great way to engage in nature and contribute to science. Bird surveys, biodiversity counts, or programs like the Western Ringtail Possum tally, which is on over the next month, are programs we will help people to connect to locally.”

Jamie and Sebastian have travelled to some of the most amazing natural habitats on the planet, such as Antarctica, the Arctic, Borneo and Papua New Guinea, but they say living in Mandurah still makes them feel blessed.

“We can see how lucky we are to live in Mandurah and be surrounded by the diversity of the wetlands, the coastline and the bush. It truly is a world-class place to live,” Jamie said.

Relaxed by Nature

Discover a diverse range of nature experiences in the Mandurah region

From the bushland to the waterways, the Mandurah Estuary and Peel Inlet is twice the size of Sydney Harbour and home to a unique abundance of wildlife, birds and marine animals that’s worth exploring.

Jump onboard a custom guided private nature tour with Salt and Bush Eco-Tours and you’ll be amazed by this biodiversity hotspot right on your doorstep. There’s plenty to delve into when you wander and discover the incredible surroundings on a bushwalking trail, paddle or sail on a kayaking adventure with a difference, go bird-watching or simply settle in for a peaceful evening of stargazing.

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Birdwatching

Bird life is abundant in Mandurah and the Peel Region which make it a perfect location for bird watchers and nature lovers.

Birdwatching

Mandurah and the
Peel Region are the
perfect locations for
bird watchers

Situated at the northern end of the Peel Inlet, Mandurah is the key point in a chain of lakes and estuaries from Perth to Bunbury. These expanses of open water are a habitat for up to 100,000 waterbirds.

Localities such as the Creery Wetlands are recognised under International Agreements as key habitats for migratory waders. To the West is the Darling Range with its diverse Jarrah forest flora and habitat for native birds.

Bird life is abundant in Mandurah and the Peel Region which make it a perfect location for bird watchers and nature lovers. The bird life around the Estuary is just as impressive. Over 100 different species of native and migratory birds nest, breed and feed on the estuary.

The Peel-Harvey Estuary is classified as a Wetland of International Importance in 1990 by the Ramsar Convention.

Some of the best places to observe water birds are between the two Mandurah bridges on the shores, amongst the marshes and on the islands of the Peel Inlet. Here you will see waterbirds feeding, Darter, cormorants, yellow-billed Spoonbill amongst others.

 

Find our insider tips below for some of the best birdwatching spots in Mandurah:

Mandurah Estuary

Between the two Mandurah bridges the shores, marshes and islands of Peel Inlet provide excellent opportunities to observe waterbirds feeding. Get your binoculars and watch out for Darter, Cormorants, Yellow-billed Spoonbill (occasionally Royal Spoonbill) and Blackwinged.

Mandurah Harbour & Dolphin Pool

These are good areas to observe Caspian, Crested and Fairy Tern. In summer among the waders are Bar-tailed Godwit, Eastern Curlew, Ruddy Turnstone, Australian Pied Oystercatcher and Grey Plover.

Directions:

Travel to Dolphin Drive, Mandurah

Len Howard Conservation Park

The park contains 60 hectares of bush on the north western shore of Peel Inlet and features a nature trail (Erskine nature trail) with boardwalks over wetlands.

Birds you may see on your walk include:
  • Splendid Wren
  • Black-face Cuckoo-shrike
  • Willie Wagtail
  • Grey Fantail
  • Golden Whistler
Waterbirds you may see on your walk:
  • White-faced Heron
  • Black Swan
  • Royal Spoonbill
  • Darter
  • Little Pied Cormorant
  • Pied Oyster Catcher
Directions:

Travel to Len Howard Drive, Mandurah

Coodanup and Creery Wetlands

One of the Peel Yalgorup Wetlands System’s must-see spots is the Creery Wetlands, made up of a 29-hectare nature reserve that’s connected with a series of boardwalks and pathways enabling you to enjoy this unique ecosystem where over 130 different species of native and migratory birds have been spotted. Pelicans, the rare red tail black cockatoo, black swans and osprey breed and nest here.

From the shore you can see Boundary Island, a nesting place for Fairy Tern. The bay inshore of Creery Island supports large numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit, Eastern Curlew, Great Knot, Banded Stilt and Pacific Australian White Ibis and Yellow-billed Spoonbill who come here to feed from nearby breeding colonies.

Samphire Cove is part of the 29 hectare Creery Wetlands and is on the edge of the Peel Inlet. There are walking trails, information shelters and viewing huts and platforms for enthusiastic birdwatchers. The saltmarsh and shallow waters are an important roosting and feeding area for waterbirds and shorebirds which migrate to the Mandurah area every year from Northern Asia and Alaska.

Our tip:

The best way to discover (or rediscover) what makes these stunning wetlands and the remarkable wildlife so special is on a guided walking tour with Ways to Nature.

Salt and Bush Eco Tours speciality bird trips can be land or water-based (from foot peddled kayaks) along the Ramsar protected wetlands of the Peel Harvey Estuary and Yalgorup Lakes – a truly unique way to birdwatch.

Directions:

Travel one kilometre east towards Pinjarra. Turn south along Wanjeep Street to Peel Inlet (Coodanup).

Lake Goegrup & Black Lake

These lakes are important waterbird feeding and breeding areas. You’ll find red-necked Avocet there throughout the year. Black Lake is a winter habitat for large flocks of Musk Duck.

Directions:

Follow Gordon Road to Lakes, Patterson and Dunkerton Roads.

Header image by Karyn Ellis

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