Last Christmas Day, two Gwydir Ark members took some visitors for a drive by the Gwydir River at Bingara and came across a hand drawn sign asking people not to remove fallen trees or branches as our animals need homes, signed by the ‘Next Generation’. It turned out that the sign had been made by Qynn and Caoimhe Stamer in response to hearing and seeing chain saws being used along the riverside.
What a great idea the Gwydir Ark members thought! This was not a sign saying “Tree Cutting for Firewood is Prohibited” but rather a suggestion from the next generation to think about creatures that make their homes in logs.
Gwydir Ark aims to promote sustainability through education and had some funds left in an education grant so members researched sign designs around town and collected photos of local wildlife taken by members. The group presented its designs and ideas to the Environment and Sustainability Manager at Gwydir Shire Council, proposing a joint project. The response was very positive and the project took off.
There are four designs for the signs and twelve signs in total between Bingara and Honeymoon Island. One design is of course a copy of the original one made by the Stamer children. Two others display fifteen photos on each, of creatures found locally ranging from rosellas, frogs and lizards through to gliders, possums and cockatoos. The fourth design is at the dump point near Cunningham Park and features a poem written by Alex Dudley about tree hollows.
The signs are spaced out along the river side mainly where the free camping is allowed. One of the council workers said that there was considerable interest from visitors when they were putting them up along with comments that nowhere else seemed to be doing this type of information.
What is Gwydir Ark?
Gwydir Ark started as a community based threatened species group in 2016. We promote sustainability through education. We go walking. We learn about plants and animals and habitat. We love living here and have learned a lot about the wonderful creatures we share Bingara and the Gwydir River with. We are very happy that Gwydir Shire Council has been able to support our designs and project to encourage the community and visitors to consider the needs of our wild residents.
Go for a walk or drive and have a look! If you want to know more about what creatures appear on the signs, the Visitor Information Centre has a brochure.