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There’s something about Bool Lagoon

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Chris OldfieldNaracoorte Community News

The birds, bats and frogs of Ramsar-listed Bool Lagoon have their own calls and stories. Those stories will be shared when Bool Lagoon and Hacks Lagoon (currently dry) next have water.

The 3220ha wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention will boast ecological tours, enabling everyone to learn about its enchanting native fauna and flora.

With a background in engineering and ecological research, nature enthusiast Abigail Goodman has worked as an ecologist for more than a decade throughout the region.

But it is Bool Lagoon and its magical wonders which captured Dr Goodman’s passion so intensely that she is willing to share its secrets with others via South East Safari.

“I did my PhD research on wetlands in the South East – Bool and Hacks Lagoon was one of my study sites,” Dr Goodman said.

“I’ve always had a big interest in that area and I describe it to people as my ‘heart place’.

“So, finding a way of sharing that site with people – it’s important to me. It seemed like a good fit to be doing environmental eco tours at Bool Lagoon to share that wonderful site with people.”

Following a request by Naracoorte’s Sunrise Christian School to share her knowledge with students, Dr Goodman is also helping out with their Funday Monday activities.

That can involve playing nature bingo while walking around Gare’s Swamp, and learning about that wetland.

Dr Goodman is also working on group activities featuring nature play or bush play.

“That is so families with young children can come along and get some time in nature,” she said.

Currently, Bool Lagoon has no water so Dr Goodman is not doing any tours unless there is a specific request to view what is in the area while it’s dry.

But when there is water there, Dr Goodman thinks many people will be interested in all the birds.

“There is a total of 167 bird species recorded for the site, 79 of which are considered waterbirds,” she said.

“Once the water arrives, it doesn’t take long for the birdlife to appear as well.

“In previous years, it’s just taken some really good rainfall in September to provide good water in Hacks Lagoon,” she said.

“Then we see a really big variety of waterfowl, the swans, Magpie geese, ibis – they all come in numbers, so there’s plenty to see and talk about.

“I think birds are always a big drawcard at a wetland. And I think, especially for kids, realising that a duck isn’t just a duck, it can be a wood duck, or black duck or a blue bill duck … there’s lots of varieties.

“That extends to the waterfowl. It is a bit of an awakening for people.

“It’s really nice to hear all the different bird calls and often that is something that people haven’t really thought about – that you can identify birds from their call and you don’t necessarily need to see them.

“Frogs, when they’re calling, are really great as well. And it’s not uncommon to see some kangaroos and swamp wallabies there, so it’s beautiful to see the fluffy animals as well.”

Dr Goodman said she seldom saw any snakes although studies showed they were out there.

“I find that reassuring. It shows the snakes aren’t out to get you!” she said.

Dr Goodman said she had gained a lot of encouragement from the district’s tourism advisers to establish tours.

“Biddie Shearing was the destination development manager with RDA Limestone Coast and she was fantastically energising with lots of resources that she could provide,” she said.

Dr Goodman also praised tourism operators in Naracoorte and Coonawarra along with the Naracoorte Business Association.

“They are keen to support one another and provide opportunities for each other, so the local (business and tourism) industry has been really great,” she said.

Dr Goodman can be contacted on www.southeastsafari.com.au or by mobile 0422 326 901.

Naracoorte Community News 24 August 2022

This article appeared in Naracoorte Community News.

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