GLUEPOT RESERVE – TAKING CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT INTO A NEW ERA
Located in the heart of South Australia’s Riverland region lies one of the country’s best hidden treasures and conservation miracles of the century, Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve.
Not only is Gluepot Reserve Australia’s largest community managed and operated reserve, but it is home to the largest concentration of biodiversity sites in the country. The Reserve holds the largest block of intact Mallee left in Australia, meaning that the viability of the threatened bird populations, along with numerous other flora and fauna, is exceptionally high. However, with continuous devotion from the organisation, populations of threatened species in the Reserve have either been maintained or have increased in number. Prior to a small fire in 2006, the region hasn’t seen a major fire for over half a century and the combination of this fire impact, together with the growth of the Mallee and other flora, has led to this region being open to an assortment of niches for birds and other animals such as reptiles and bats.
This seemingly small organisation is becoming an international model of sustainability, proving that all it takes is passion and dedication to make a difference. Gluepot Reserve has been a part of the Ecotourism Australia family since 2002 and since then has achieved Advanced Ecotourism Certification for both the Reserve and the Reserve’s camping facilities. Along with this, Gluepot was also the first organisation in Australia to achieve the highest level of certification in Ecotourism Australia’s Climate Action Program. In case you weren’t impressed by this organisation enough, this isn’t all they’ve done...
Since Gluepot was established in 1997, the organisation has accumulated 28,000 hours per year of volunteering from people from all over the country. Gluepot Reserve is accredited for training in Australia and overseas in 19 different universities and research institutions. The Reserve carries out its own climate change research and monitoring projects and actively supports 13 national research institutes and universities that are simultaneously conducting ongoing research projects on the Reserve.
Gluepot Reserve is passionate about the education and training of those involved with their facility. Volunteer ranger positions with the park are so popular and well executed that positions are booked out until 2020. The Reserve Ranger Training Program offers recent graduates and undergraduates the opportunity to secure training in various aspects of the park including conservation, park management, scientific research and monitoring methodology.
Gluepot has the greatest number (200) of biodiversity sites in all of Australia. It is home to 22 nationally threatened birds, 53 species of reptiles and 12 species of bat. Due its size, visitors can enjoy and relax amongst nature in almost total solitude and all camp grounds are in prime birding areas. No trees have been removed to accommodate any buildings or infrastructure and the whole facility is powered via solar power.
Gluepot faces all its challenges as opportunities and by doing so has become both an international and national leader in the face of environmental management issues. The advancing research projects carried out at the Reserve have the capability to solve problems like loss of biodiversity and land degradation. The ongoing stability, along with the profound knowledge in the committee of dedicated volunteers, means there is a provision of long-term management plans to assist for issues now and issues that future generations will face.
[All photos courtesy of Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve]