WORDS & IMAGES | Sarah Way, Ways To Nature

What inspires you? For me, it has always been nature: observing it, experiencing it and learning about it. This passion for the natural world led me to study zoology and I have worked in wildlife conservation for over twenty years. More recently, I have taken my love and knowledge of Australia’s biodiversity and created Ways To Nature, a small eco-tourism business based in Mandurah.

Ways To Nature’s goal is to engage and connect people with Peel’s diverse natural heritage, and to foster an understanding and appreciation of the region’s flora and fauna.

We certainly have a lot to be inspired about living in Peel, and I’m dedicated to create a sense of wonder through unique experiences with nature.

Walking Ways To Nature

Beginning operations in July this year, I lead guided nature walks through the wetland reserves of Mandurah’s beautiful Peel-Harvey Estuary, providing insights into wetland ecology along with plenty of opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observations.

The Peel-Harvey estuary is part of the Peel-Yalgorup wetland system, which was recognised as a site of international conservation significance in 1990 under The Convention of Wetlands. One of the first international agreements to conserve and promote sustainable use of natural resources, The Convention of Wetlands was ratified in 1971 in the city of Ramsar,Iran, and therefore is commonly referred to as the Ramsar Convention. If you have heard the Peel-Yalgorup ecosystem being referred to as a Ramsar site (No. 482, to be exact!), now you know why!

It is the largest, most diverse estuarine system in south west Australia and attracts over 15,000 waterbirds every year.

Around 22 species of migratory waders visit the area from October- March every year: it’s the end point of an arduous journey of thousands of kilometres along the East Asian- Australian Flyway.

Ways To Nature operates walking tours showcasing this significant ecosystem at Creery Wetland Reserve and Samphire Cove Nature Reserve in the heart of Mandurah, and Len Howard Conservation Park in Erskine. All three reserves have bird hides and wetland boardwalks perfect for observing waders and waterbirds and exploring unique samphire saltmarsh habitats. Ways To Nature gives you the opportunity to become a budding ‘birdo’, with binoculars and spotting scopes provided for use during walks. You can even choose to arrive by boat at Creery Wetlands on the weekend with a new Dolphin Shuttle and Wetland Wander package offered in collaboration with Mandurah Cruises.

Learning Ways To Nature

Recognising there are many ‘Ways To Nature’ that can connect us with the natural world, I also offer Encounter Ecology school holiday programs and events in Mandurah and at Dwellingup’s Forest Discovery Centre in the northern Jarrah forest. Encounter Ecology programs include Homes and Habitats, Animal Superpowers and Night Rambles and are designed to get children outside and away from screens; encouraging them to learn about ecology and enhance their connection with nature.

Inspiring Ways To Nature

Have you always assumed zoologists work in zoos…?

Drawing on my experiences living and working in Antarctica and sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island, I have created several presentations to reveal my experiences as a zoologist and to evoke wonder in our natural world. These stories can come to your school, retirement village or community group as I share my adventures and images from working on Australia’s threatened albatrosses and surveying Antarctica’s seals and penguins.

 MORE INFORMATION

Contact Ways To Nature via email: hello@waystonature.com.au or visit www.waystonature.com.au and Facebook/ ways2nature

This article was first published in the Peel Magazine, Spring/Summer – vol 5.2 – to read and download the full magazine, click here.