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Phillip Island Youth Wildlife Ambassador Program

Blog Post - Phillip Island Youth Wildlife Ambassador Program

The Phillip Island Youth Wildlife Ambassador program is designed to get younger people in the local community involved in helping protect nature and wildlife on the island. Seven ambassadors were selected for this year's program, two more than originally expected. Each prospective ambassador had to apply online and answer a series of questions.

The selected Ambassadors are aged from 13 - 17 years old, with a diversity of abilities (high performing to special needs). The 2019/20 program was launched on Threatened Species Day, Saturday 7th of September, which marks the day that the last Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) died in captivity in 1936 and is commemorated across the country to raise awareness of plants and animals at risk of extinction. The threatened species theme tied in well with the launch, with program conveners speaking about key threats to threatened wildlife, but also how they are providing a haven for threatened species through research-led conservation programs.

In September, all seven ambassadors took part in routine monitoring of the Eastern barred bandicoot population that was introduced to the Summerland Peninsula in October 2017. Ambassadors (many with their parents or guardians) assisted with checking traps, recording data, preparing equipment and releasing bandicoots.

Getting to see the bandicoots up close and assist with real on the ground action for this threatened species linked in well with the information on Threatened Species (including the Eastern Barred Bandicoot) presented to the ambassadors at the program launch.

Since the launch the young Ambassadors have participated in planting days for penguins, eastern barred bandicoot research and marine debris clean ups. This has provided them with hands on conservation activities and practical solutions. Additionally, it has also provided opportunities for Ambassadors to network, learn from researchers and rangers, and meet other like-minded young people.

This conservation project is supported by Phillip Island Nature Parks staff, including the Volunteer Program Coordinator, Threatened Species Officer, and Education and Interpretation Coordinator, with funding from the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.



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