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Serendip Sanctuary

Serendip Sanctuary

Management and funding

Parks Victoria, which is a Victorian Government Corporation, manages most of Victoria’s Parks and Reserves including the marine environment. Serendip Sanctuary is part of the Parks Victoria Estate.

Serendip Sanctuary’s Mission Statement, in part, states: To provide education and information services and recreational experiences for the public focusing on wetland and western plains ecosystems.

Serendip provides a range of wetland and dryland habitats which are interpreted for the general public. It also conducts an extensive environmental education programme.

Serendip can be accessed on the web via the Parks Victoria web site – www.parkweb.vic.gov.au

Serendip Sanctuary is funded by Government via Parks Victoria and it is assisted by significant corporate sponsorship by Alcoa World Alumina Australia. Revenue is obtained through structured eco-tourism and environmental education programmes. Entry to the general public is free. Annual visitation is around 35,000.

Founded/opened

Serendip was formerly a Wildlife Research Station and it was redeveloped as a Sanctuary and opened to the public on 1st September 1991. People can view both free range and captive wildlife in a range of natural habitats from quality bird hides without disturbing wildlife.

Description

Serendip Sanctuary has quality features, interpretation, and hands on activities along its four nature trails. Visitors pass display ponds, marshlands, billabongs, farm dams and lakes teeming with wildlife. Large mobs of free range kangaroo (over 600 were onsite in Dec 2003), Emu, wallabies and pademelon roam the 250 ha (640 acre) site. 32 ha of wetlands are surrounded by woodlands and grassy woodland habitats. Serendip has an Information Centre, Theatrette, Activity Room with ‘A Frog’s World’ display, ponding site for water bug study, video camera mounted on a bird watching tower where visitors can obtain a bird’s eye view of the Sanctuary and the landscape beyond. Serendip has two large picnic and BBQ areas.

Key species/features

In excess of 150 species of animal have been recorded on site. Brolga, bustard, Magpie and Cape Barren Geese have been captive bred. All species except for bustard have been released to the wild and around 300 Magpie Geese and 100 Cape Barren Geese fly free on site. 30 Brolga and six bustard are on display. A demonstration farm dam for wildlife and native grassland has been established on site.

General

Serendip has been redeveloped to allow the public to enjoy and learn about native flora and fauna. Quality interpretation and hands on activities are dispersed along the nature trails to excite and educate persons of all ages.

Interpretation and exhibitry

All interpretation has been developed to focus on as many aspects of Victoria’s western plains ecosystems, ensuring that they meet the needs of the age range of visitors. Many have an interactive component associated with them, and most incorporate living flora and fauna. A frog pond has been developed in the native grassland and that has been complemented by ‘A Frog’s World’ display. This project was sponsored by Alcoa Frog Watch. It has a live frog exhibit with a frog mural, access via the web to the Victorian Frog site, a soundscape and frog stories via a video. It has been aimed at all ages and the principal aim is to get people interested enough in frogs to establish habitat in their backyard.

Formal (school and university) learning

A Curriculum Standards Framework environmental education programme has been developed for all year levels and over 5,000 students attend Serendip’s education programme each year. It focuses on living plants and animals dispersed along the nature trails. Quality interpretation and interactives complement the programme. These include water watch test wells, solar powered food webs, video camera on the bird watching tower, and a ponding site with shelter, video microscope and interpretation. The education activities are mailed to teachers when they make a school booking. Education activities can be modified to meet particular syllabuses.

Informal (general public) learning

Casual visitors are met at the Information Centre and they are orientated about the special nature of the site and the daily highlights. They are given a map and education booklet to enable them to self-guide. Ranger-led guided tours are conducted on an appointment basis.

Staffing

Serendip Sanctuary has four permanent members of staff. The staff are supported by volunteer groups such as Conservation Volunteers, Greening Australia, Green Australia and individual volunteers. The Ranger-in-Charge is Mike Helman.

Contacts

Mike Helman, Ranger-in-Charge
E: mhelman@parks.vic.gov.au

The WLI network is endorsed by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and coordinated by WWT.

Contact

Wetland Link International
WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, GL2 7BT, UK
T: +44 (0) 1453 891214
E: info@wli.org.uk Twitter: @wetlandlink