Get Involved in Conservation
A primary objective of Field & Game Australia is to preserve, restore, develop and maintain waterfowl habitat in Australia. Waterfowl hunters are aware of the importance of our wetlands and the biodiversity that is associated with wetlands, and every year our 17,000 members volunteer thousands of hours in active conservation projects.
From pest animal hunting to installing nest boxes, there’s always some form of conservation that you can get involved in and make a difference.
Pest Animal Removal
Since 2011, over 394,000 foxes have been removed by hunters. This is actually a conservative number, taken from Fox Bounty claims in this period, as there is a percentage of hunters who do not claim the bounty. Australia has a large number of introduced species which compete with and prey on our native wildlife, and most states and territories permit the removal of these pest animals through humane hunting. You can also contribute to wetland and waterway health by helping remove introduced aquatic species, such as the infamous carp. Many Field & Game Australia branches organise pest hunting activities – check the events calendar or contact your branch for more details.
Field & Game Australia members have partnered with marine biologists, wildlife researchers and ecologists to assist with research, which contributes to a better understanding of our wetland habitats and the animals that thrive there. With a better understanding of the ecology of these systems, we’re better able to maintain and conserve them. If you’re a duck hunter, you can play a part in Field & Game Australia’s Head and Wing research program by sending us samples from each bird you harvest during the hunting season. Depending on what studies are being conducted, other programs might ask you to fill out surveys, collect insects or plants, or record sightings of certain species. There’s so much to learn, and Field & Game Australia members are keen to participate.
Nest Box Programs
Across much of Australia, nesting sites for waterfowl can be limited. Erecting nest boxes near wetland habitats can help our native waterbirds find a place to nest and raise their young, but it’s not just ducks that will inhabit the nest boxes. Native parrots like Rosellas will often move in, and Field & Game Australia volunteers have even discovered possums having a snooze. It’s been shown that loss of habitat, including suitable nesting sites, is a huge problem for our native waterfowl. Field & Game Australia branches run nest box programs in their surroundings, and often ‘adopt’ wetlands or reserves to monitor and improve. Ask your Conservation Officer about the nest box program at your branch.
Waterfowl surveys take place across Australia, and contribute to the data used to inform the decision-making process for waterfowl hunting seasons in different states and territories. Field & Game Australia members are keen to get out in our wetlands and see what’s going on, and to survey the populations of different waterbirds in and around these habitats. These surveys also include habitat assessments, where we’re able to identify wetlands in need of help. Monitoring habitat and wildlife population is one of the first steps in active conservation.
Consultation, Stakeholder and Advisory Roles
Field & Game Australia members play active roles in different consultation, stakeholder and advisory groups and boards. Many of these groups are involved with overarching conservation activities and requirements, such as ensuring environmental water is delivered to wetland habitats when needed, and being involved with consultation on the best practice for these habitats during their wet/dry cycles. Positions in these groups and boards are commonly filled through an application process – we will keep our members informed when we hear of these opportunities.
Another ongoing conservation effort by Field & Game Australia that everyone can play a part in – tree planting and revegetation. Keith Field & Game, in South Australia, have planted over 2,000 trees at their range; at the Heart Morass wetland near Sale, Field & Game Australia members have planted over 50,000 native trees. You can also participate in seed collection and plant propagation to support revegetation projects. If you have a green thumb, know a spot which would benefit from a bit more native plant life, or just want to get involved at ground level, get in touch with the Conservation Officer at your branch.
Fundraising, Donations and Grants
While the conservation work our members do is priceless, the same cannot be said for the materials and supplies used to perform this work. Fundraising for conservation projects is one way you can contribute if you’re not the hands-on type, and with State and Federal governments offering funding through conservation grant programs from time to time, there’s lots of ways to get involved. The funds you raise can be used for all sorts of conservation projects, from native seedlings for revegetation, to purchasing cod fingerlings to restock waterways, to earthworks and landscaping to help with drainage and prevent erosion. Field & Game Australia branches are always actively fundraising, so talk to your local branch to see how you can help.
Working on Public Land
There are wetlands, reserves and parks across Australia which don’t get the attention and maintenance they need. Field & Game Australia branches work with local councils and government departments to deliver much-needed maintenance and repairs, obtaining permission to work on public land and holding working bees to get the job done. If you’ve noticed a problem on public land near you – it could be a huge blackberry infestation, a water control channel that’s blocked, or an access track that only a mountain goat could use – you can play a part in solving it.
Weed spraying. Fencing. Landscaping. Construction. They sound like hard work – they are – and Field & Game Australia members across the country volunteer to perform this hard work on both public and private land. Most branches hold Working Bees when there’s a large task at hand, and will invite members to join in and lend a hand.