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Racecourse Lagoon Family Fun Day

Southern New England Landcare and Uralla Shire Council held a family fun day (morning) at Racecourse Lagoon, Uralla on Saturday the 9th of February to celebrate World Wetlands Day.

World Wetlands Day promotes public awareness of the significance of the Earth’s wetland environments and is celebrated around the world in early February each year.

The day started off early with keen bird enthusiasts arriving at 7:00am to watch the mist rise from the lagoon. The weather was perfect and there were many waterbirds on the lagoon and enjoying breakfast around the waters edge. Black Swans, Purple Swamp Hens, Dotterels and Stilts to name a few had participants glued to their binoculars.

By 8:30am fifty people had arrived to enjoy the delicious bacon and egg rolls supplied by the Uralla Lions Club. The morning’s activities continued with flora walks, information about pest animal control and current Landcare projects occurring in the region.

Local Uralla historian, Arnold Goode had the audience captivated with tales of a bygone era when there were 16 hotel licensees around the parameter of the lagoon and historic accounts of Captain Thunderbolt. Racecourse lagoon was noted as the prettiest racecourse in the state with regular horse racing activities engaging those near and far.

Racecourse Lagoon was once again utilised as a race track for the day’s events, but these races did not involve four legs. Instead children took part in three-legged and sack races throughout the morning. The egg and spoon races were also a hit but with ‘special’ eggs. Stephanie McCaffrey from Uralla Shire Council had been very busy painting eggs to resemble those of waterbirds. There were green eggs, brown eggs and eggs with black spots, all highlighting effective camouflage.

The theme for this year’s World Wetlands Day was ‘Wetlands and Water Management’. In our local area this is of particular relevance to the management of our unique Upland Wetland environments. Upland Wetland’s are listed as an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) of national significance. They are formed by shallow depressions that may contain water permanently or dry out when water sources such as rainfall or groundwater become scarce. Upland Wetland environments occur mainly on the basalt plateaus of the New England Tableland, often on private properties.

Racecourse Lagoon is unique in that it has formed on a granite base and includes a number of large granite outcrops throughout the lagoon. Upland Wetlands provide critical habitat for endemic (or local) flora and fauna species as well as migratory birds. As a result, the future management of these communities is crucial to their survival.

Uralla Shire Council (USC) signed a Voluntary Conservation Agreement in 1999 to environmentally manage the lagoon and is committed to the continued conservation of this unique area. USC is currently undertaking flora surveys and hydrology assessments of the lagoon to inform their ongoing management of this Upland Wetland. These activities are being supported by the High Country Wetlands and Woodlands project currently being delivered by SNEL and funded by the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country Program.

Article by Bec Ballard, Southern New England Landcare