From 5 to 8 April 2016, tour guides from near and far converged on the Atherton Tableland for the 9th Wet Tropics Tour Guide field school.
Run by the Wet Tropics Management Authority and its partner Savannah Guides, the first two days involved the official delivery of the three study units required for Wet Tropics Tour Guide accreditation. Over 30 guides working towards this accreditation attended workshops on interpreting the natural values of the Wet Tropics, delivering commentaries, and presenting the World Heritage Area as a cultural landscape.
On days three and four, more than 50 enthusiastic participants enjoyed a range of interesting presentations and interactive field trips focussing on the theme - ‘Wildlife of the Wet Tropics’. The range of expert speakers included:
Peter Valentine (Adjunct Associate Professor at James Cook University) spoke about ‘Bird guiding skills for the Wet Tropics’, which was followed later by a birdwatching session at Hasties Swamp.
Alan Gillanders (of Alan’s Wildlife Tours) gave hints and tips on ‘Interacting with nocturnal wildlife’—these skills came into use that night on a rewarding spotlighting trip to the Mount Hypipamee area.
‘Dances with cranes’—an insight into brolgas and sarus cranes by Tim Nevard (Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland), along with a sunset visit to Bromfield Swamp.
Michael Anthony (Northern Gulf Resource Management Group) provided an interestin presentation on ‘Reptiles and amphibians of the Wet Tropics’.
Dr Karen Coombes welcomed us to the Tree Roo Rescue and Conservation Centre—the only dedicated tree-kangaroo rescue centre in the world—to meet some of the roos and learn about the research done by the centre.
Del Richards (Fine Feathered Tours) and Terry Carmichael (Wet Tropics Management Authority) led bird and musky-rat kangaroo spotting walks around Lake Barrine.
Other activities included a visit to the Tolga Bat Hospital, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve the public’s perception and understanding of bats, and a viewing of the resident rock wallabies at Granite Gorge.
The next Wet Tropics Tour Guide field school will be held in the latter half of 2017. There will be the opportunity for guides who are working towards their accreditation to undertake field assessments throughout the year by appointment.
Visit our Wet Tropics Tour Guide Program page for more info about becoming a certified Wet Tropics Tour Guide, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the Wet Tropics Tour Guide mailing list.