Chairperson's Address AGM 2009

In collaboration with our sponsors, Edgecombe Brothers Winery, we held a very successful ‘Foodlovers’ Tour of the Swan Valley’ in March 2009. Our guide, Julie, took us to some of the unsung local venues for everything from fresh vegetables to fig jam.

We held a very successful meeting in March, with guest speaker Amy from SERCUL telling us all about stormwater. We are planning to stencil tortoises on the drains in the Ellenbrook area to remind homeowners about the impacts of pollution in the stormwater on the tortoises’ habitat. One of the participants in the stormwater meeting was Gane Doyle from the WA Reptile Park in Henley Brook, who kindly allowed us to erect a display at the park, and leave our brochures for visitors.

July 2009 was the 5th anniversary of the Friends group, and a small celebration was held at the July meeting.

The past year was again difficult for the Western Swamp Tortoise Recovery Team. This time, added to the funding issues faced, several key personnel moved on. The position of Chair of the Recovery Team has not been filled, with a subsequent lack of leadership on the programs. This has impacted on the Friends group again—there was only one planting event in 2009 and no other on-ground works for much of the year. No FoWST members attended the release at Moore River, as it was during the working week.

We were offered one of the final grants for the Threatened Species Network. We were very appreciative of the extra money, which is earmarked to rehabilitate a newly acquired corridor between Lake Wannamal and the Mogumber property where Western Swamp Tortoises have been released for the past couple of years.

The Zoo is still breeding tortoises and hatchling number 1000 will be shell notched (for identification) in 2010. This is a significant milestone for the program, and one of which the Zoo can be justly proud.

Our activities have generated a lot of interest this year and we have picked up many new members. Our website continues to generate lots of hits, with weekly analysis showing interest from all corners of the globe. Thanks to Bob and Tanya for their hard work updating the site when needed.

Thanks to all our dedicated Committee members for their continued hard work and great ideas to help the tortoise.

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