Fresh Blog

News as it happens - discussion; views; topics; information

Easing COVID-19 restrictions - May 2020

Ashleigh Coombs - Thursday, May 14, 2020

Hi All,

The COVID-10 pandemic has caused significant disruption to life in South Australia and across the world.

On 27 March, out of an abundance of caution, we asked you - our invaluable Friends of Parks volunteers - to down tools and cease all organised activities in our national parks and reserves.

We appreciate that this was difficult.

We know and value your deep commitment to - and connection with our parks, especially as many of you had important projects in train.

The health and safety of staff, volunteers and park visitors was however paramount.

We sincerely thank you for your patience during this uncertain time.

Your willingness to work with National Parks and Wildlife Service staff and others to comply with the restrictions has been appreciated.

All South Australians have worked together to slow the spread of coronavirus.

This means we can now start getting back to the things we love to do together.

Recently, the South Australian Government put in place a roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions.

Following the 11 May easing of relevant restrictions, we are now able to recommence volunteer activities within certain parameters.

These include practicing social distancing, maintaining good hygiene and maximum group sizes.

We now encourage you to recommence your volunteer activities.

Please work with your group and local National Parks and Wildlife Service staff to plan for a safe return to volunteering in our national parks and reserves as soon as you feel able.

If you have any queries please reach out to our National Parks and Wildlife Service Volunteer Programs Unit on 8124 4838 or

Thank you all for your continued dedication and commitment to the State’s national parks and reserves.

Yours sincerely

Duncan MacKenzie, President Friends of Parks Inc.

John Schutz, Chief Executive Department for Environment and Water.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update - 27th March 2020

Ashleigh Coombs - Sunday, March 29, 2020

Dear Friends of Parks Group Members

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia (NPWSSA) is implementing precautionary measures to prioritise the health and safety of staff, volunteers and park visitors. This includes the cancellation of all campground host volunteer placements and volunteer ranger activities until further notice.

I am sure you would have seen the communique from the President Duncan MacKenzie on the 17 March, announcing the cancellation of activities such as the Governor’s reception in April, Friends of Parks AGM in May and the bi-monthly Board meetings.

The decision has now been made that Friends of Parks members cease all organised activities in our parks until further notice.

NPWSSA will continue to monitor the situation and provide you with additional information regarding volunteer activities as appropriate.

It is important to ensure you are relying on up-to-date and credible information.

Australian Government Department of Health

SA Health

World Health Organization

Australian Government Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080.

We appreciate your understanding on this matter and apologise for any inconvenience caused, however your health and safety is of utmost importance to us. Please continue to take care of yourself, your family and friends during this challenging time.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Volunteer Programs Unit or regional staff if you have any further questions regarding your group’s activities.

Kind regards,

Mary-Anne Healy

A/g Director, National Parks and Wildlife

Donations to help Wildlife on Kangaroo Island

Ashleigh Coombs - Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Donations to help Wildlife on Kangaroo Island

Wildlife Recovery Fund

The National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia and Nature Foundation SA have set up this Fund to re-establish habitat, particularly for threatened and vulnerable species. Your donations will go to local landholders, Landcare, and community groups in fire affected regions to urgently undertake native plantings, feral animal and weed control, and fencing – this will give both threatened animal and plant life the best chance of recovery. Funds will also be directed to restore habitat in fire-devastated national parks – particularly on Kangaroo Island.

Glossy Black Cockatoo Recovery Program:

The Nature Foundation SA runs the program for this critically endangered bird together with the KI Natural Resources Management Board. The recovery program started in 1995 with less than 160 Glossy Black-cockatoos in existence and has nursed the population back from the brink of extinction, doubling the population of glossies on Kangaroo Island to over 360 birds and helping them to spread eastwards across the Island. However the fires have now destroyed most of their habitat in the west of the Island creating an urgent need for nesting and habitat support.

Saving the KI Dunnart from Extinction

The Endangered Kangaroo Island dunnart is found only in remnant bushland of the west end of Kangaroo Island. However it now appears that its entire habitat has been burnt, all known monitoring sites have been burnt and the species may now be on the very brink of extinction. Your financial support will help Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife and landholders to locate remnant patches of unburnt vegetation and survey for the species through camera trapping. We have lost valuable survey equipment in the fires, your financial support will help to replace much needed survey equipment (cameras, fencing materials) and allow the team to start surveying immediately, find the last few individuals and protect them from feral predators and further wildfire events.

KI Wildlife Network

This volunteer group works with SAVEM (SA Veterinary Emergency Management) to rescue injured wildlife from the fire ground. For donations details, see this link

Businesses supporting Wildlife:

Hanson Bay Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary

This 5,000 acre wildlife sanctuary was home to thousands of native wildlife animals including a large population of koalas.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park 

We are working around the clock with a highly experienced, qualified and dedicated team of volunteers including qualified vets, vet nurses and wildlife carers to rescue, rehabilitate and care for all of the animals coming in from the bushfires

For those of you who would like to contribute we are asking for funds to help with veterinary costs, koala milk and supplements, extra holding/rehabilitation enclosures, as well as setting up a building to hold supplies to treat these animals.

Raptor Domain

Raptor Domain is an environmental education centre based near Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island. In the last week, here at Raptor Domain, we have had to evacuate all of our animals twice due to extreme fire risk. We are lucky that the property has been spared this time round, but it still remains at advice level. It has become evident that we will need to construct portable enclosures for our raptors, as ideally, we need to keep our animals in one of the ‘safer places’ on Kangaroo Island until the fire threat is gone. This will hugely reduce the stress of moving our animals and holding them in pet packs for an extended period of time. We need to fund the construction of some mobile aviaries for our birds in the likely event of another fire threat. This would allow our animals to remain in a safer place for a week or even longer if needed.

Island Beehive’s Save the Ligurian Bees appeal

Island Beehive states “We have started a go fund me to save the Ligurian bees. This money will go directly to buying feeders and bee feed to start with, then we will look at a queen breeding program to get the numbers up again.

Devastating fires impact Kangaroo Island and Cudlee Creek

Ashleigh Coombs - Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Dear Friends Of Parks member groups and members

Friends of Parks Inc. and the Volunteer Programs Unit have been contacted by some individuals and companies in relation to the devastating impact of the Kangaroo Island, Cudlee Creek, and other fires across the state,and several Friends Groups have had fire through their parks. The information below will give you some ideas of how you or your group might like to help.

For those of us at a distance, a financial donation is often the most helpful way to contribute to disaster-affected communities. It helps the community buy exactly what they need and spend locally.

The South Australian Government has activated the State Emergency Relief Fund (SERF) for the Cudlee Creek fire, and kicked it off with $1 million. The fund will collect donations to provide financial relief for people directly affected by the fire, including those who suffered injury or loss. All money raised will be administered by the independent SERF Committee which will ensure fair distribution to those most in need. You can read more about the SERF, including the many easy tax-deductible ways to donate here .

St Vincent De Paul have also set up an appeal specifically for other fire affected communities in South Australia. To make a donation, please visit the Vinnie’s SA Bushfires Appeal page .


There are also a number of fauna related charities such as SAVEM and Fauna Rescue raising funds to assist with injured livestock and wildlife following this disaster, helping to minimise the suffering of the thousands of animals affected.

You can help South Australia’s koalas and other wildlife affected by bushfires by contacting the South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management team (SAVEM).

SAVEM is set up to provide large-scale emergency wildlife response during bushfires across the state. National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia spokesperson Professor Chris Daniels said SAVEM collaborates with other agencies, including the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) and the RSPCA, to respond to animal welfare issues in-field. “We have many fantastic trained volunteer carers in South Australia ready to help distressed and injured wildlife and the best way to help out wildlife is by contacting SAVEM to coordinate the effort,” Professor Daniels said. “We greatly appreciate wildlife rescue volunteers who look after South Australia’s animals all year around. During this bushfire emergency SAVEM is the go-to wildlife rescue effort for the state. “Only appropriately trained members are authorised to carry out emergency wildlife rescue and care activities.” There are also a few things everyone can do to help animals during a bushfire, such as:

  • Leave shallow bowls of water out for animals and birds escaping fires. Add a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape if they fall in.
  • Keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal that you can safely contain without putting yourself in any danger.
  • If you rescue an animal that has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it. Wrap it loosely, ideally in 100% cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid and keep it in a dark, quiet place while waiting for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet.

To get in contact with SAVEM call 0477 055 233 or email

SAVEM’s mission is to assess, triage, treat, shelter, reunite with owners or rehabilitate and return to habitat all species of animals post event. SAVEM has been activated by PIRSA.


Adelaide Koala & Wildlife Hospital (via Facebook)

“ We are getting many calls and messages asking what sort of items to donate so we have made a list of what we are using the most. We are blown away by the love and generosity of everyone in our country as well as overseas at this awful time ❤ We have birds, reptiles and possums in our hospital as well as koalas also affected buy the excessive heat 🐨🐿”

Items include:
- Flamazine
- Soffban
- Vetwrap
- Elastoplast
- Bottles of saline
- IV fluids: hartmanns or saline
- IV Giving and extension sets
- Gauze
- Handwash
- Toilet Paper
- Native flowers for the lorikeets and possums
- Eucalyptus leaves
- Chlorhexadine scrub
- Small and large bird seed
- A4 printing paper (for hospital charts)
- A4 clipboards (for charts)
- Paper towel
- Bin liner

“As we go we will add to the list. We don't have use for stuffed animals, sheets, quilts or pillows but other rescues may need these items. To make our lives and the lives of our volunteers easier we cannot accept soiled items “

Items can be dropped off at the hospital Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. Highlights info row image (08) 8297 2455


Koalas and other wildlife affected by bushfires on Kangaroo Island must be managed locally and not removed from the island.

Department for Environment and Water Acting Executive Director Brenton Grear said it was particularly important that the island’s koalas – which make up the only population in South Australia free of chlamydia – remain disease-free. “We’ve received reports that some koalas from Kangaroo Island have been taken to Adelaide by people who want to get help for them,” he said. “It’s understandable and heartening that people want to rescue these animals, but unfortunately it will mean that those koalas can’t be returned to the island because of the risk of contamination of the population there.” Chlamydia in koalas can cause blindness, bladder inflammation, infertility and death. As the island’s koalas are isolated and free of the disease, its introduction would devastate the population. Because of the size of the fires burning on the island, it is too soon to know how many animals have been affected.

“South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management (SAVEM) has been activated to manage the wildlife rescue effort and is working with other groups in fire-affected regions,” Mr Grear said. “We ask that anyone on Kangaroo Island who finds injured wildlife call SAVEM and SAVEM will coordinate assistance for animals affected by the fires on Kangaroo Island.”


As many of you may now be aware, there have been substantial loss to properties including our beloved Flinders Chase National Park and other west end reserves. A number of our members have been impacted and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time. In the days, weeks and months to come there will be a number of opportunities to assist and help rebuild, but in the interim you may wish to donate to the KI appeal or to a number of the other non-profit organisations supporting our local people, livestock & wildlife.


The State Government has established a new emergency relief fund to help people directly affected by the devastating Cudlee Creek bushfire – pledging $1 million to kick-start the donation drive.

The State Government is encouraging South Australians to consider making a donation to the Cudlee Creek Fire Appeal – no matter how big or small. The State Emergency Relief Fund (SERF) will be managed by a five-member committee, who will ensure public donations are distributed appropriately and fairly. There are no administrative fees. You can make a tax-deductible donation to the SERF online, via cheque, or in person at any Commonwealth Bank branch:

Electronic funds transfer to the State Emergency Relief Fund, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, BSB 065 266, Account 10020160 - Description must state ‘donation’.

Credit card – visit the State Emergency Relief Fund BPoint payment website at or dial 1300 276 468 (1300 BPOINT) and enter biller code 1002359

Cash – go into any branch of the Commonwealth Bank and donate over the counter giving the details: BSB 065 266, Account 10020160

Cheque – send to State Emergency Relief Fund, Donations, QA Finance, GPO Box 292, Adelaide SA 5001


To support the impending bushfire recovery effort, Mike Williams, Executive Director National Parks and Wildlife, has been appointed by the Premier as the Kangaroo Island State Recovery Coordinator for the next six months. Mike will coordinate all aspects of the state’s recovery effort and will report to the Department of Human Services. While Mike is leading the island’s recovery effort, Brenton Grear will be Acting Executive Director, National Parks and Wildlife. In this role Brenton Grear will also chair the DEW’s Fire Recovery Coordination Committee.

One thing I am sure of is that our Australian Community - and within that the Friends of Parks SA - are a tough, caring and resilient 'mob' and we know how to fight back against any adversity. We have proved time and again that 'we are a well oiled machine' that is capable of tackling any situation 'thrown' at us, and NOW is the time to prove that is the case.

When I consider the enormous number of volunteers, community members and other workers who have put their lives on the line to fight these fires, trying to protect our communities and the environment, I say it is time for them to take a rest and for other community members - such as the FOP - to step into the gap to work on the rehabilitation and recovery of our communities and the environment.

If your Friends Group has been impacted by the fires, can you please think about what tasks/projects you might need assistance with from other Friends Groups once the fire areas are declared safe, and let us know by contacting Pam Smith, Secretary. Friends of Parks Inc. Board ( ), and we’ll distribute that information via the Friends of Parks website, Facebook page and email distribution list.

(You should be able to right click on the organisations above to take you to their pages).


Duncan MacKenzie
Friends of Parks Inc.
Ph 8332 1204

Rotary Club of Burnside Inc 2019 Awards

Ashleigh Coombs - Thursday, January 17, 2019

Nominations for the Rotary Club of Burnside’s Parks Awards featuring recognition for service in ‘Leadership in Conservation’ and ‘Volunteer of the Parks’ are now open, and will close on 28 March, 2019.

As they did in 2018, Rotary is pleased to continue with the award criteria as follows:

  • Volunteer of the Parks award - open to anyone who is going above and beyond as a volunteer looking after our natural resources whether on park or on other land, whether they be from a Friends of Parks Inc. member group or other environmental group
  • Leadership in Conservation award - this now includes employees from other departments and agencies, perhaps working on a DEW project, but not necessarily, and who fit the criteria of being a leader and role model to others, being innovative and thinking/working with a view to the future.

The Rotary Club of Burnside Inc. has also kindly agreed to provide the following monetary prizes to the winners:

  • Volunteer of the Parks - $500 towards a project of their choice, or some sort of professional development
  • Leadership in Conservation - $500 towards professional development e.g. training course, conference

Funds will be available until 30th June 2020 for the winners, who will need to inform Rotary when they find a suitable course, project etc.

The presentation this year will be a two course luncheon at the Hackney Hotel , on Sunday, 26 May , at 12.00 pm at $55 per person, (please see online invitation below).

You can book by clicking on the link in the invite, or by going to directly to the TryBooking site:


Pam Smith
Grants and Volunteer Program Administration Officer

Rotary Parks Awards Rotary Parks Awards (4348 KB)

Rotary Nomination Form - Leadership Rotary Nomination Form - Leadership (1633 KB)

Rotary Nomination Form - Volunteer Rotary Nomination Form - Volunteer (256 KB)

Parks get by with a little help from their friends

Ashleigh Coombs - Thursday, October 11, 2018

The 31st Friends of Parks Forum was held recently at Stenhouse Bay Hall in Yorke Peninsula’s Innes National Park, with the theme ‘Preserving our Past and Protecting our Future’.

More than 150 people attended the forum, which ran from the 14th to the 16th of September, including the Member for Narungga, Fraser Ellis MP who opened the event.

Narungga man Chris Angove and his family gave a traditional Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony and led the delegates on a cultural bus tour.

Innes National Park Ranger in Charge Mark Davison said the biannual forum was a culmination of two years of planning by the Friends of Innes National Park and Natural Resources Northern and Yorke staff, with support from the Friends of Troubridge Island and the Friends of Althorpe Island.

Jessica Henderson

Communications Coordinator
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke | Parks and Regions

PARKS FORUM 2018 - Summary PARKS FORUM 2018 - Summary (259 KB)

Friends of Newland Head Conservation Park celebrate 30 years of voluntary conservation work

Ashleigh Coombs - Friday, August 17, 2018

On Saturday 11th August the Friends of Newland Head Conservation Park braved cold conditions to celebrate their 30th anniversary in Waitpinga Campground. The volunteer group held their initial meeting in 1988, and this special day marked 30 years of voluntary conservation work in the park. This group of very dedicated volunteers assist with many important park projects including weed control, revegetation and most recently, monitoring Western Pygmy Possums to study population and distribution in the area.

The Park is a 1,152 ha Conservation Park situated at Waitpinga, 15 minutes from Victor Harbor. The Park is renowned for its superb fishing and surfing beaches, rare and endangered species of plants, birds and animals, stunning coastline and beautiful walking trails. A huge draw card for many visitors - local, state-wide and national. The annual visitation is estimated at 100,000 people.

The Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs, also attended the day. He gave out awards along with Senior Ranger Seiji Iwao and member of the Friends group, Winston Syson. A number of members also celebrated 20, 10 and 5 years of volunteering with the group. Along with these awards, previous members Ron and Pam Taylor were also acknowledged for 20 years of outstanding contribution to environmental conservation in the park. They were key founders of the group and their passion and commitment to the park were second to none (see photo).

Group members gathered at Dennis Hut in Waitpinga campground for the giving of awards by Minister Speirs, followed by a BBQ lunch. A small special ceremony was also held in the afternoon to remember previous member Robin Rowett who passed away 15 months earlier. Robin was a very dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer, so the group used this opportunity to celebrate his contribution to the park and passion for the area. Family members planted trees to commemorate Robin in a special place held dear to his heart overlooking spectacular views of the ocean.

The Friends of Newland Head Conservation Park are supported by Department for Environment and Water National Parks staff and Friends of Parks Inc., along with the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Volunteer Support Program. The 30 year celebration event was funded by the Friends Group with support by the Volunteer Support Program and NRM Levy.

The Friends of Newland Head Conservation Park currently hold weekly Frieday working bees in the park and monthly working bees on a Saturday. In addition, the group participate in 6-weekly monitoring surveys of Western Pygmy Possums checking nesting boxes for activity. For anyone who would like to get involved in this fantastic group of local volunteers, please contact Simon and Lee on

Help for Friends of Ikara-Flinders Ranges members

Ashleigh Coombs - Friday, August 17, 2018

Dear Friends,

A call-out to members of any Friends group... We need help with transport!! Do you like to drive? Want to explore some new spectacular scenery?

Have you ever had an interest in becoming a member of the Friends of the Ikara-Flinders Ranges, but couldn't justify the cost of driving there, or don't have a vehicle you felt was suitable… or at all? Or maybe you'd just like to experience how a different Friends group operates, or take in some of our magnificent Flinders scenery.

Athol Jackson and Anthea & Carl Hudson have been active Friends of the Ikara-Flinders Ranges members since the group began in 1995.

Athol (our driver) is soon going to be unable to drive due to medical issues, which means we will have a problem getting to working bees in the Park. Anthea and Carl will be attempting to get their drivers licenses, but this will take time.

We are wondering if there are any Friends group members who would be interested in driving Athol's very comfortable, easy to drive vehicle (fuel cost covered) to transport us up to the Flinders Ranges and drive around to the various places in the Park where work is taking place.

A willingness to tow a camper trailer would also be a great advantage! Also, due to allergies, you would need to be a non-smoker.

You would also need to be 25+ (I think) due to vehicle insurance purposes.

Fuel cost would naturally be covered.

Private room accommodation is provided free in the comfortable Oraparinna Shearer's Quarters, with access to a fully equipped kitchen, male and female hot showers and flush toilets, heating (wonderful huge slow combustion heater, plus reverse cycle) and cooling, TV. You would need to be willing to help out at the working bee, to use one of these rooms, as they are reserved for volunteer workers, but the work is enjoyable and the company is great.

We'd even be willing to provide your meals, but you may prefer to bring your own food, as we are vegan.

We would be very grateful for any help or suggestions in this matter, as it saddens us greatly to think of not being a part of our wonderful working bees!

Please email Anthea if you would like to discuss this further, or to make an offer of help.


Belair Bush Buddies

Ashleigh Coombs - Monday, July 02, 2018

Hi everyone,

Belair Bush Buddies is a group for upper primary aged kids who are interested in the environment and is run by members of the Friends of Belair National Park. If you'd like to know a little more about Belair Bush Buddies check out our website:

We have our July meeting coming up next weekend and encourage any kids interested to come along with their parents, grandparents, or guardians. It is on Sunday, 8th July, from 10am until midday in the Volunteer Centre.

This month we have special guest speaker Greg Johnston, a wildlife biologist, coming to give a talk on bird beaks and feet! Bird beaks and feet come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and functions so it will be a very interesting talk. For the second half of the meeting we will head outside with Greg to spot some of the features we have learnt during the talk, so bring along some binoculars if you have them.

Here is a little about Greg from the SA Museum website:

"Greg Johnston is a semi-retired wildlife biologist, originally from Eyre Peninsula, Australia. He has worked in the mining industry, universities, zoos, and with conservation NGOs. Between 2000 and 2010 he established the research and conservation program at Zoos SA's Adelaide and Monarto Zoos, where he was Head of Science. Prior to that Greg worked at the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research in Israel and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. He has extensive field experience in Australia and in Papua New Guinea.Greg has degrees in zoology and anatomy and a PhD in biology. He has published over 60 books, book chapters and scientific papers. He holds honorary positions at the South Australian Museum, Flinders University and the University of Adelaide, where he is an adjunct Associate Professor.Greg lives in Adelaide and is a keen amateur photographer. He plays banjo badly, although his family would rather he didn’t!"

Please wear closed in shoes and long pants for this meeting as we are heading outside. Here's hoping the weather is favourable but bring along a raincoat just in case! As always, parents are most welcome and encouraged! And, it is free entry for all attending, just let gate staff know you're there for the Belair Bush Buddies.

Bushcare's Major Day Out

Ashleigh Coombs - Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bushcare's Major Day Out (BMDO) will be held on Sunday September 16 2018

The date for BMDO 2018 is confirmed, and now's the time to start planning your activities and attracting volunteers to care for your local urban and regional bushland sites.

We want to hear from you!

Just like BMDO wouldn’t happen without you, your feedback is invaluable - it allows BMDO to gain more publicity and support year after year.

We have set up a short survey for you to provide us with your feedback on BMDO 2017, and any suggestions you have for this year.

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey - thank you!


And we would love to hear about your events last year.

You can tell us about your BMDO events and achievements on our Feedback Form, available to download at the link:


We’re seeking sponsorship to fund a national promotions campaign for Bushcare’s Major Day Out 2018, to tell the whole country how great BMDO is!


In 2017 Bushcare’s Major Day Out merged with Conservation Volunteers. By combining Bushcare’s leagues of dedicated volunteers with our network of 20 offices and over 200 staff, we are mobilising communities to roll up their sleeves and take part in caring for their local, urban and regional bushland, wetlands and parks.

Need More Information?

For more information on how to get involved, please contact us:

Visit the BMDO webpage

Recent Posts