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Be aware, take care and share

News release
23 January 2014

This year, children attending VacSwim at Vivonne Bay, Penneshaw and Emu Bay had the chance to learn more than just swimming skills.

Approximately 50 children (and some parents) took the opportunity to learn about Hooded plovers and how to share the beach with them to increase the likelihood of survival of Hooded plover chicks.

The Hooded plover breeding season coincides with the busiest tourist season and beach recreation time. With only about 200 Hooded plovers left on Kangaroo Island the importance of raising awareness of their vulnerable status led to this educational program.

The children were provided with some basic information about the birds and the threats they face from animals, humans and weather conditions. They learnt how to use the beach during the breeding season, walking only below the high tide mark so they could avoid the Hooded plover nests and reduce disturbance.

Then, armed with binoculars and the Hooded plover adventure sheet they set off along the beach to put what they’d learned into practice.

Natural Resources Kangaroo Island staff Ashley Kestle, Charlotte Atkin and Deb Davis prepared and delivered the sessions assisted by two volunteers, Suzanne Branford and Naomi Pitcher, and supported by the Kangaroo Island Shorebirds group.

A mock Hooded plover with its nest was set up demonstrating how well camouflaged they are. This gave the children an indication of how unobtrusive and vulnerable the nests are, and how easy it is to accidently tread on eggs or chicks if you are not careful.

The children were each given a Show bag donated by Birdlife Australia containing items and activities related to Hooded plovers and other shorebirds.

Feedback from the workshop has been positive, with a number of children reporting seeing Hooded plovers on their local beaches.

Thank you to everyone who assisted in the planning and delivery of the sessions especially the parents and volunteers who attended.

For more information about Hooded plovers please visit the shorebirds display in the Natural Resources Centre 39 Dauncey Street Kingscote.

We look forward to a whole new generation of Hooded plover lovers!