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Botanical royalty Jane Scott will lead a free guided walk along the banks of the Margaret River as part of Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s packed calendar of events this year.

The author of the official Cape to Cape Track guidebook – as well as many titles on local orchids, flowering natives and fungi – will discuss riparian plants like sedges, rushes and reeds when she heads a river excursion from 9.30am on Thursday, March 7.  Learn about these diverse plants, and the critical role they play in regulating the ecosystem, improving water quality and providing habitat.

The guided walk is the latest event in Nature Conservation’s Friends of Wooditjup Bilya (Margaret River) program, which features a packed 12-month calendar of events to inspire and educate locals about our iconic waterway. Each monthly event, held on the first Thursday of the month from 9.30am-12.30pm, includes a different guided excursion followed by hands-on conservation work so volunteers can help make a real difference in the catchment.

This event is free but numbers are limited, and registrations are essential – CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT. Children must be accompanied by a parent and must be over the age of 12. The walk starts at the Horseford River Track (about 100m from the Doyle Place/ Kevill West intersection) and afterwards, volunteers will lay brushing and work to restore a degraded tributary of the Margaret River, enhancing the sedges, rushes and reeds to improve water quality of the Wooditjup Bilya.

Ms Scott said the river held a special place in her heart and she encouraged locals to come along and learn more. “It is so beautiful and the vegetation all around the edges is just fantastic,” she said. “It’s lovely to be able to let people know about the different species that are here, help them identify the natives, and understand why they’re so important.”

Program coordinator Lauren Scanlon said the monthly gatherings are a fantastic opportunity for locals to learn more about the Margaret River, hosted by cultural custodians, scientists or local experts. “We all connect to the river in different ways, whether it’s walking along the trails, fishing, swimming, taking photos or just as a way of being in nature. Most of us feel a connection with the river, we benefit from it, and now we can each play a role in protecting it too,” says Ms Scanlon.

“We’re working together along key sites of the Wooditjup Bilya foreshore to regenerate riparian vegetation, restore degraded banks, enhance existing habitats, tackle weeds and mitigate erosion. We’re also connecting local people with traditional custodians, scientists, experts and local caretakers who are all caring for country and can offer unique insights into the extraordinary values of this river.”

Jane’s book Wildflowers and Wetland Plants of the Margaret River and its Hinterland will be for sale on the day for $20. This program is funded by the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River through the Environmental Management Fund.