Parks Week 2023 - Let's celebrate the people that help provide us with our favourite parks
It’s Parks Week 4-12 March 2023 - a time to highlight all the positive benefits parks have on our mental health and wellbeing. It’s also a time to celebrate the people who help to provide us with these incredible, natural spaces.
The saying ‘it takes a village’ to manage parks and conservation areas across the State is spot on. There are so many varied roles across the department that add so much value to parks which you probably aren't aware of.
We have interviewed a few staff from around the State to find out what they do and to show them how much we appreciate what they do for WA’s national, marine and conservation parks.
Bron works in the Warren Region as the Interpretation Officer which (unofficially) means she gets to do all the fun stuff!
She researches and writes stories for signs, park brochures and fact sheets. She is mostly office based but does get to spend some time out in the parks doing site visits, installing signs, checking out walk trails, taking photos and chatting to visitors. She’s been working for the department for 14 years and loves that she gets to explore all sorts of spectacular places and work with a great bunch of people.
When she isn’t working you might find her out at Madfish Bay in William Bay National Park which is one of her favourite places to visit in summer or, climbing Mount Lindesay as the view from the top is amazing and the wildflowers are fantastic in spring.
We asked her what her top tip would be for planning a visit to her part of the world.‘Check out the Explore Parks WA website to see what incredible places we have in this part of the world. Whether it's beaches, tall forests, mountains, walking, cycling or paddling whatever floats your boat - we've got something for everyone.’
Preston is a full-time Yawuru Ranger in Joint Management with Parks and Wildlife and has been working with the department for 11 years.
His favourite part about his role is going out on country, especially Crab Creek and Willie Creek. These places have special cultural significance and it’s his job to care for country as a traditional owner.
Preston loves these places because you can go out fishing and collecting shell and crab meat at Crab Creek. He likes Willie Creek for fishing and getting better peace of mind and those places are made even more special because of his connection to the area as a traditional owner.
Preston's top tip for visitors, ‘Go to the local Parks and Wildlife office or visitor centre. If you’re willing to go out on country, you'll see the untouched beauty of Broome and surrounding areas. You can see the stunning plants and animals, where the Great Sandy Desert meets the Indian Ocean, migrating shorebirds, Willie Creek Pearl Farm and dinosaur footprints. While you’re there respect Country, if you see something interesting don’t take it with you but take it with your heart instead.'
Jade, still a newbie to the department, has been working as the Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator – Wagyl Kaip and Southern Noongar, in the South West for only 7 months. Her role is to focus on building relationships with the local Noongar community in the hope of producing positive, symbiotic outcomes.
Jade really values that as part of her role, she gets to spend time with a wide range of people - more often than not, out on country. She takes First Nations groups out for day trips and camping trips, which is always amazing fun, as well as creating an opportunity for two-way learning.
On her days off she can be found in Fitzgerald River National Park which she says is beautiful and stunning! Jade’s top tip for travellers ‘Definitely come and check out Fitzgerald River National Park.'
If you have been lucky enough to travel to Purnululu National Park you might have met Robyn at the visitor centre. She is the manager of the Purnululu Visitor Centre and has been working with the department for 7 years.
Robyn loves that she has been given the opportunity to work in such an amazing place, meeting and talking to so many different people from all parts of the world and sharing their experience of the Bungle Bungles in this World Heritage Area.
It’s safe to say that Robyn loves many places in the park, and who wouldn’t, but Piccaninny Creek Lookout and walk is her favourite. She said the best time to visit is very early in the morning for sunrise, as the wildlife are around and it is so quiet and magical.
Robyn’s top tip for travelling to Purnululu National Park World Heritage Area. ‘You need to allow at least two full days to experience the full beauty of the park to explore the southern end with the beautiful Cathedral Gorge and the Northern end in the Echidna Chasm. Sunsets at Purnululu are amazing. Make sure you stop at the visitor centre first as staff will assist you with all information and suggestions you need for experiencing the park. We have a great range of souvenirs and refreshments too. Plus we just love to say hello and welcome everyone to this beautiful place in the world.’
Lori-Ann, or L-A for short, has been working for the department for four years. You can find her down near Esperance working as the Community Engagement and Information Officer for the proposed South Coast Marine Park.
L-A loves what she does when planning how to conserve habitats and biodiversity, she also works with the community to ensure their voices are heard in future planning projects.
She is lucky enough to be working in an area where one of WA’s most famous beaches is – Lucky Bay. But her favourite place is Hellfire Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park. This secluded and sheltered bay on the shores of the Recherche Archipelago is a visual delight of contrasts, with the whitest sand in Australia, turquoise and aquamarine waters, striking green vegetation and a huge, marbled brown granite headland. The walking trail between Hellfire Bay and Thistle Cove is ablaze with wildflowers in season, and the views over the islands from the rocky outcrops is stunning with an abundance of birds and lizards to view which complete the experience.
Her top tip for visiting the area. ’Esperance is on the remote southern coast and internet signals struggle at times, so it’s best to make your online arrangements like park passes and campsite bookings before you leave the metro area. The immense popularity of Cape Le Grand National Park means campsites book out quickly for holiday periods. It’s not unusual for the campsites to be fully booked on the day the bookings open, six months out, so do plan ahead. There is so much to explore in Cape LeGrand National Park, so give yourself plenty of time in the area. A must do is shuffling your feet on Lucky Bay beach where the sand squeaks!’