Coastal Landcarers Field Trip

All day bus trip: includes morning & afternoon tea and lunch

Orford_Bird_Sanctuary_IMG_3063-400.jpgEmbark on the Coastal Landcarer’s field trip along lutruwita/Tasmania’s spectacular East Coast, a journey brimming with Landcare marvels and natural wonders. This scenic expedition sets off from Spring Bay Mill, and includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea along the way at our field stops.

The trip adventure commences with a demonstration by Fonz, Australia’s pioneer serrated tussock detection dog, trained to detect the invasive Serrated tussock grass, Orange Hawkweed, and Chilean Needlegrass. Accompanied by handler Mel Kelly, Fonz’s expertise stems from the training and guidance of renowned conservation dog trainer Steve Austin.

Next, the tour ventures to the sprawling 3500-acre expanse of Okehampton, managed for conservation, cultural preservation, and sheep farming by Cape Herbert Pty Ltd. The visit begins with a heartfelt Acknowledgement of Country, honouring the ancestral lands of the Laremairemener and Paytirami people. An 800-meter stroll to the beach unveils ongoing projects, such as vegetation and cultural site protection, and a regenerative grazing initiative.

Subsequently, the journey continues to the Orford Bird Sanctuary, an internationally recognised haven for shorebirds, including the vulnerable Fairy Tern, Hooded Plover, and Red-capped Plover. This coastal oasis safeguards precious avian populations and fosters biodiversity conservation.

The final stop, Wind Song, invites you to walk through the tranquil Peace Forest Project to the Private Forest Reserve gifted to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people in 2019. This remarkable reserve captured the attention of botanists from TMAG in 2017, yielding 885 specimens, including 10 previously unidentified species. With botanical artists from Botaniko accompanying TMAG’s botanists on their Expedition of Discovery, Wind Song emerges as a sanctuary of untold natural treasures and profound cultural significance.

The Coastal Landcarers field trip will conclude back at Spring Bay Mill.

Your Hosts

FONZ - at Spring Bay Mill. Detection Dog Fonz is the first dog in Australia to be trained to find the highly invasive perennial grass Serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma).

This ‘nasty’ grass is considered one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts.  It can also be very challenging to identify, especially in amongst native grasslands. Serrated tussock is a significant issue in southern Tasmania, on the east coast, the northern midlands and spreading throughout the state.

Fonz and his owner / handler Mel Kelly were trained by the internationally renowned conservation dog trainer Steve Austin.  Fonz has also been trained to find Orange Hawkweed, another highly invasive Weed Of National Significance (WONS) and Chilean Needlegrass, another ‘nasty’ grass of the Nassella genus.

Mel is an Environmental Consultant with Enviro-Dynamics who specialises in invasive plant management and has a passion for conservation detection dogs. 

Dogs are increasingly being used for a broad range of conservation and biosecurity work all across the world. 


The land at 536 Okehampton Road (Okehampton) is a 3500 acre area managed for conservation.

(including two Conservation Covenants areas under the Nature Conservation Act), as well as cultural values and sites, and as a sheep farm - by the current Tasmanian owners 'Cape Herbert Pty Ltd'. 

At the first bus stop the field visit begins with an Acknowledgment to Country. The area of trayapana and surrounds (including Okehampton), are the traditional lands of Laremairemener and Paytirami people of the Oyster Bay Nations.

This will be followed by 800m walk to the beach for morning tea and will feature some projects occurring here (vegetation and cultural site protection, and a regenerative grazing trail). A return to the bus, and short drive and walk 200m will enable discussion about Eastern Quoll monitoring and Eucalyptus morrisbyi insurance population and research.



The Orford Bird Sanctuary (OBS), nestled north of the Prosser River mouth in Orford, encompasses a sandy coastal section and tidal backwater, once part of the river’s lower reaches. Despite its size, it’s globally recognised as an Important Biodiversity Area (IBA) for shorebirds, housing resident and migratory species like the threatened Fairy Tern, southernmost colony for this species.

The Orford Bird Sanctuary is also home to Vulnerable Hooded Plovers, Red-capped Plovers, and diverse wildlife.

While the OBS is recognised as a ‘sanctuary', this is not yet reflected in the land tenure of the site, part of which is a Public Reserve leased toCouncil for management, and the remainder is Unallocated Crown Land.

Achieving reservation of the area as a reserve for conservation, and effective conservation management of this small conservation jewel is a large part of the ongoing fight that the Friends of Orford Bird Sanctuary has taken up. The recent endorsement of the Orford Foreshore Master Plan by Council and the Parks and Wildlife Service, which recognises the significance of the OBS and proposes that it be reserved for conservation, is a major step forward, but statutory protection of the area is still likely several years away.

Jane Wing and Gary Whisson from the Friends of Orford Bird Sanctuary (FOBS) will conduct the site visit at the Orford Bird Sanctuary


Jane is a passionate conservationist, and has spent over two decades at the forefront of environmental efforts. She not only campaigns for OBS recognition but also established and led the Orford Community Group for many years. Jane’s commitment extends to coordinating on-site management actions and conducting weekly bird surveys within the sanctuary.

Gary Whisson, the Secretary of FOBS, is a seasoned biologist with nearly three decades of experience and played a key role in WesternAustralia’s conservation efforts with the Environmental Protection Authority. His responsibilities encompassed establishing national parks, crafting biodiversity policies, and offering essential advice on the conservation impacts of developmental proposals. Since moving to Tasmania in 2010, he remains devoted to conservation, actively participating in FOBS for 

several years, and sharing his vast expertise. In collaboration with Jane, Gary tirelessly advocates for OBS protection, emphasising its critical role in safeguarding biodiversity for future generations.



Walking lightly on the land - a forty-five-year journey

Jane and Tom Teniswood along with Linton Burgess and Ben Rea will walk you through the recent Peace Forest Project on 'Wind Song' to the Private Forest Reserve, which was gifted to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people in February 2019.

In 2017, staff from TMAG spent a week collecting flora and fauna in this reserve. 

Gintaras Kantvilas, manager of the Herbarium, described the land as remarkable. Among the 885 specimens collected, 10 had not been identified or described previously. 12 botanical artists from the group Botaniko accompanied TMAG’s botanists on their inaugural Expedition of Discovery to Wind Song.

Hear from Linton, palawa cultural educator and Ben Rea, outdoor educator on their collaboration with First Nations cultural knowledge holders to engage young people in ecological and cultural regeneration.

Tom has a background in farming, community development and business and was Landcare Coordinator for Glamorgan Spring Bay Municipality from 1996 to 2003. Jane has a background in teaching, counselling, community development and business. Twenty five years ago they established Wind Song Bed & Breakfast on their 220 hectare property.














Important Information

This field trip involves walking and therefore requires participants to come prepared:

What to wear
- sturdy walking shoes
- comfortable clothes (long sleeves, trousers)

What to bring
- comfortable backpack to carry water, lunch & personal belongings.
- water bottle
- raincoat
- sunhat
- medications (asthma puffer /epipen)
- small mat to sit on at lunchtime (optional)

Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea are included in the field trip.

Your time with us on the field trip
Field Trip participants are required to stay together as a group and follow the Hosts and Landcare staff instructions.

Toilet stops
Public Toilet Map 

Read all about tickets, program, field trips, sponsorship and more here:

October 15, 2023 at 9:00am - 4:30pm
Landcare Tasmania · · 03 6234 7117
$90.00 AUD · Purchase tickets