A big congratulations to the Lachlan Valley Branch of the National Parks Association (NPA) on receiving the Parkes Shire Australia Day Environment Award.
I was fortunate to spend time with the group before Christmas (yes, I invited myself to their Christmas Party) in the hope of finding out more background information about how the group came to be.
It was a pleasure, as always to spend some time with them, including Andrew (Andy) Tom, who unfortunately isn’t able to attend all walks now, but still actively contributes to the group.
One of the things that came up in my discussion with group, was the successful match ups that have been achieved, with several couples having met through NPA Walks!
The NPA group have been operating for over 20 years and evolved from what was originally Parkes Naturalist Group…a name that gave us all reason to laugh, because the interpretation has changed so much over the years!
When the group realised that there was a need to apply for a bank account, incorporation was required and they applied to several organisations, with the National Parks Association responding and the rest is history.
Members including Neville Schrader, Martin Bell and Jim Keith, on behalf of the group and with assistance from the Parkes Shire Bicentennial Community Committee brought together the Flora and Fauna of the Parkes Shire book, on behalf of the Parkes Naturalist Group, which is a reference resource that I use regularly. So much of this information is relevant to the Central West of NSW, not just specifically the Parkes Shire….the animals, plants and insects don’t know where the borders start and finish!
Over the years, the group have done many camp outs and have had many contributors to the group in both of its forms. During the discussion, I learnt that Goobang National Park was only named and designated as a National Park in 1995. Neville Schrader was instrumental in lobbying for this to happen. Prior to this it had been listed as a State Forest because of the timber resource that it held.
Many of us would know of the original name that John Oxley gave it in 1817, the Harvey Range. It is these lovely snippets of information that you can gain from participating in walks with the group. We have this living resource accessible, with knowledge of flora, fauna, spiders and birds to learn from in the Parkes and Forbes Shires.
On preparing information for this article I referred to the abovementioned book, which is now over 38 years old. How do you think we are doing? The foreword reads:
In the 200 years since settlement, the Australian environment has undergone massive changes. These changes have brought many species to the brink of extinction, others unable to respond to change have become extinct.
It appears appropriate in this our Bicentennial year, to take stock of what remains.
A small dedicated group spent the last five years surveying the Shire, identifying every species of plant, animals, bird or insect discovered. Whilst the species list in this book is not complete, it is a beginning for the future….Their future survival hangs by a slender thread. It will only take on unthinking action and extinction will ensue.
Most importantly….The future survival of much of our unique flora and fauna depends on all Australians being aware and concerned.
Congratulations once again to the Lachlan Branch of the National Parks Association. Here’s to many more fabulous adventures in the years ahead!
Marg Applebee, Coordinator, Central West Lachlan Landcare Inc