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Join Nature Conservation Margaret River Region for a free paddle up the Margaret River to learn more about this unique waterway and the animals and plants it supports.

The conservation group is running monthly events as part of its Friends of Wooditjup Bilya (Margaret River) program, each featuring a guided excursion followed by hands-on conservation work. The next one on Thursday, February 8 from 9.30am-12.30pm features a “guided restoration paddle” by conservationist and local river steward, Genevieve Hanran-Smith. Genevieve authored the Margaret River Action Plan in 2003, co-authored the Wooditjup Bilya Protection Strategy and has worked in conserving the Wooditjup Bilya for decades.

Participants can join her as she shares her passion for the river, the positive action undertaken in the lower reaches of the river between Caves Road and the river mouth, and the significant changes she has observed in river condition over the past 20 years.

Joining Genevieve is naturalist and hooded plover volunteer, Andrew Green, who works with threatened shorebirds near the river mouth during breeding season. And Sarah Palmateer, a river custodian and eco-tourism operator based at the river mouth.

Ms Palmateer said: “I love everything about the river. I’m lucky enough to run a small business down here and work with beautiful community groups, traditional owners, locals and school groups who want to protect and preserve what really is the heart of Margaret River. Having an opportunity for people to go up the river, to do some planting, really gives me great joy.”

Friends of Wooditjup Bilya 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. “Join us for this exciting event and hear from three local experts to get a taste of their passion for the Margaret River and their vision towards celebrating and protecting this special place,” she said.

“Starting at the river mouth, we’ll paddle up the Margaret River, taking in the breathtaking scenery and hearing the inspiring conservation stories of this special place. After the paddle, join us for some hands-on conservation work. Friends of Wooditjup Bilya volunteers will have a unique opportunity to get their hands dirty and be part of the restoration along the foreshore near St Alouarn Place. A huge thank you to Sarah and Josh Palmateer for kindly donating canoe hire for the event.”

This event is free but numbers are limited. For more details and to register CLICK HERE. Children must be accompanied by a parent and must be over the age of 12.

This program is funded by the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River through the Environmental Management Fund.