As with previous years, the 2017-2018 Discovery Ranger Program, delivered by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service in partnership with NRM South, reached out to the Tasmanian community and visitors to the State through public events and interactions. The highly skilled Discovery Rangers added value to the experience of participants through their personal interpretive interactions, enhanced by their extensive knowledge of Tasmania’s natural and cultural values. The 2017-2018 Discovery Ranger Program expanded upon previous years, with the employment of an additional Mandarin-speaking Discovery Ranger and, for the first time, three Aboriginal Discovery Rangers. Due to this and increased visitation throughout Tasmania, the program contacted significantly more people this season than in the 2016-17 summer season.
The program increases the profile of NRM South’s role in environmental and educational outcomes in relation to biosecurity, providing invaluable information to the public on how to limit their impact when visiting reserves, national parks and other natural environments and how they can be proactive in helping to prevent the spread of pests, diseases and pathogens. By the end of the summer season, through involvement in 44 biosecurity themed activities or roves (including 20 discovery tables), a total of 1693 visitors received messaging related to the key ‘Check, Clean, Disinfect, Dry’ and ‘Leave No Trace’ principles. The activities covered a variety of topics including preventing the spread of Phytophthora (root rot or dieback), Chytrid (frog fungus), Platypus Mucor, Myrtle Rust and Didymo (rock snot) with some activities presented in both English and Mandarin.
The program also aids in evaluating visitor understanding and behaviour relating the biosecurity through visitor surveys.
“People were absolutely fascinated by all the biosecurity threats. To be honest I was surprised by this interest and inspired by locals and visitors, interstate to international, in keeping our state as pristine as possible in a variety of ways and through a variety of biosecurity measures. I think this is an under used theme and not promoted enough with [more] signage at airports, tourist hot spots, advertising, discovery rangers and other possible interpretive and educative angles”
Discovery Ranger – Tasman National Park