Lioness Club of Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest upcoming Fashion Show

The Walkers Group.
The Walkers Group.

 

FOR me a visit to The Shortland Wetlands is always undertaken with some trepidation.

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When my sister went to Newcastle University in the 1970’s, Shortland was famous, more properly infamous, for one thing. Its mosquitoes.

She would regale us with stories of mosquitoes with wing spans to rival that of a jumbo jet.

One late summer afternoon recently, I was at the university and misplaced my car. Memories of my sister’s stories flooded back as I searched car park after car park, all the time being bombarded by squadrons of mosquitoes.

If you think this is hyperbole, next time you are heading to Newcastle take a look at the picture of Ozzie the Mozzie outside the Hexham Bowling Club.

Fortunately the thirty plus walkers visited on a magnificent winter’s day, so not a mosquito in sight.

Included in the environmentally significant variety of flora and fauna are 217 bird species.

On our walk along the paths and boardwalk we delighted in seeing a family of swans, egrets as well as many duck species.

Hunter Wetlands Centre is also an important site for the conservation of two threatened species, the Magpie Goose and Freckled Duck.

Walking through this special area it is hard to imagine that prior to 1985 this was sporting fields containing a remnant rainforest in very poor condition, full of lantana and other invasive weed species. Thanks to the vision of a core of conservationists, the hard work of many volunteers and the financial support of visitors and many others the remnant rainforest has now increased to approximately one hectare.

Another vague childhood memory I have is of discussion taking place in the local paper about what could be done with the mangrove swamp at Hexham/Shortland.

Fortunately we live in more enlightened times where the ecological value and necessity of these areas is widely understood. Although to paraphrase a famous statement, the price of conservation is eternal vigilance.

 

By Helen WATKINS

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