Voluntourism: Victorian Alps Owl Monitoring
From March 2013, visitors to Victoria will be able to personally contribute to the conservation of the state’s threatened large forest owls while enjoying a unique tour experience, with the newly established Victorian Alps Owl Monitoring, Naturewise Holiday. The voluntourism product is the first in a series of Naturewise Holidays being developed by Conservation Volunteers in partnership with Parks Victoria that combine volunteer conservation activities with exciting tour experiences.
The program’s inaugural trip in 2013 takes place in Baw Baw National Park from 6-8 March. The Victorian Alps Owl Monitoring holiday is one of few eco-tourism products currently available in Victoria that showcases some of the state’s most endangered wildlife, whilst contributing to conservation outcomes amidst unforgettable settings. Visitors on this trip will work alongside Parks Victoria rangers in threatened species recovery monitoring of the large Forest Owls.
Shane Atkins, Parks Victoria’s Ranger notes the conservation value of the owl monitoring holiday: “The Victorian Alps Owl Monitoring program is a fantastic opportunity for people to learn more about these beautiful animals, and contribute to the conservation of the threatened species here in Victoria. Ongoing monitoring is essential to assessing population numbers and territory, and for developing management plans accordingly to protect our forest owls.”
Victoria is home to four large forest owls including the Powerful Owl, Barking Owl, Masked Owl and Sooty Owl. These magnificent creatures of the night are currently threatened and face increasing decline in light of continued habitat encroachment and defragmentation. All four owls have been located in small numbers at the foothills of the Victorian Alps throughout Baw Baw National Park and beyond.
Leesa Riley, Project Manager for Conservation Volunteers/Parks Victoria Partnership is looking forward to seeing the Naturewise program grow. “Naturewise holidays offer a unique opportunity for visitors to contribute to conservation goals and learn about Australia’s natural environment, while enjoying a fun and adventurous holiday. The Victorian Alps Owl Monitoring is ideal for those who enjoy an active holiday and share the passion for helping our wildlife – it is for holiday makers who want to make a difference”, she said.
Victorian Alps Owl Monitoring Trip is a three day, two night program, with departure dates on 6th March, 3rd April and 1st May 2013. For further information about Naturewise Holidays, including details of the Victorian Alps Owl Monitoring program, please visit: http://www.conservationvolunteers.com.au/get-involved/holidays
About Conservation Volunteers:
Conservation Volunteers was founded in Australia in 1982, and expanded operations to New Zealand in 2006. Involving over 10,000 volunteers every year, Conservation Volunteers is a leader in delivery of practical conservation programs, community involvement and a range of training programs. Conservation Volunteers has offices in all capital cities and many regional centres around Australia and New Zealand, and offers volunteer opportunities every week of the year. Conservation Volunteers has been recognised with many significant awards, including the United Nations’ Environment Program Global 500, UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organisations 2011, 6 Banksia Environmental Foundation Awards, and Ecotourism Australia’s Ecotourism Award 2009. Conservation Volunteers Australia is a Registered Training Organisation.
Images: © Fiona Hogan and Conservation Volunteers
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