Insider guide: Para Wirra

Insider guide: Para Wirra

Go behind the scenes to dis­cov­er the unique jobs and pas­sion­ate peo­ple that care for South Australia’s environment.

Steve Tay­lor – Senior Ranger atPara Wirra Recre­ation Park

How would you describe your job to some­one at a BBQ?

The core of my job is to pro­tect and look after parks, which involves man­ag­ing fire and its impact on the park. It’s also about work­ing with the com­mu­ni­ty, involv­ing them with the parks and bio­di­ver­si­ty across the landscape.

How did you get into this line of work?

I worked in envi­ron­men­tal jobs in the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry, includ­ing for Parks and Wildlife in veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment. When I returned to South Aus­tralia I start­ed vol­un­teer­ing with a Friends of Parks group, help­ing out with main­te­nance, before join­ing the fire crew and then becom­ing a park ranger.

What do you encounter in a nor­mal’ day on the job?

At this time of year I’m on the look­out to see how our orchids are going. A nation­al­ly endan­gered orchid came into flower recent­ly, so I spent some time weed­ing around it to pro­tect it. I check the recre­ation areas in the park to make sure everything’s in good order, meet vis­i­tors and answer any ques­tions they have. I work with vol­un­teers, at this park and sev­er­al oth­ers, on jobs like weed­ing and spray­ing, do reg­u­lar inspec­tions of the con­di­tion of our walk­ing trails, and car­ry out minor repairs and com­pli­ance checks around the parks.

What’s the most amaz­ing thing you’ve seen at Para Wirra?

I often see kan­ga­roos, pos­sums, koalas, emus, snakes, lizards and all sorts of inter­est­ing birds – wrens, robins and even quail. I once saw a pair of Yel­low-foot­ed Antech­i­nus, which are small mar­su­pi­als, run­ning up and down a tree squeak­ing, which was pret­ty spe­cial. There are so many small native mam­mals under threat across Aus­tralia, from pre­da­tion and habi­tat loss, and large­ly extinct in the Ade­laide and Mt Lofty Ranges. It’s heart­en­ing to know that Para Wirra along with near­by for­est and catch­ment lands pro­vides pro­tec­tion and suf­fi­cient high qual­i­ty habi­tat for ani­mals like the Antech­i­nus to survive.

What are your insid­er tips about Para Wirra?

If you look care­ful­ly, high up in a smooth-bark tree you can often find a group of white-winged choughs sit­ting in a bowl-shaped nest they’ve made out of mud. It’s the whole family’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to rear a new chick, and often there’s as many as 20 choughs help­ing out. If you’re here dur­ing spring­time there could be as many as 50 of these nests around Para Wirra. Fam­i­lies of choughs are known to steal chicks from oth­er nests, so look out for the spar­ring ses­sions that take place between two rival fam­i­lies to pinch one of their new babies.

If you’re a fan ofPara Wirra Recre­ation Park, send us your pho­tos and tips for vis­it­ing in the com­ments below.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living