Once a rubbish dump, acrid swamp and football field, the love and care of locals has made the 45 hectare space a haven for 200 species of birds, frogs, invertebrates, fish and reptiles.
The Wetlands Centre has been remarkably transformed by is community owners and managers.
Once a rubbish dump, acrid swamp and football field, the love and care of locals has made the 45 hectare space a haven for 200 species of birds, frogs, invertebrates, fish and reptiles. Sedges, rushes and swamp mahogany trees grow very well and flora and fauna exist happily together in and around natural and manmade freshwater ponds.
Shortland Wetlands is a safe habitat for threatened and endangered species such as magpie geese, black necked storks, Australasian bittern and jacana. Migratory shorebirds arrive to feed and 8000 ibis roost there, along with four species of egret. The resident freckled, pink eared and wandering whistling ducks are not creatures which are seen just anywhere! The freckled duck is endangered and for now, they live in enclosures while multiplying. The program is regarded as successful.
It also supplies important and essential links with other wetlands in the Hunter Estuary for birds which like to move about from one to another.
The centre has been dedicated to wetland education and community involvement since its inception in 1985 and has made great contribution to local, state and national conservation. A visit is both relaxing and informative.
Without wetlands, water would just rush away, resulting in erosion and loss of habitat. With them, important water is stored and cleaned by filtering.
Visitors can see birds and wetland animals in their natural environment by walking, cycling and canoeing. There are displays of birds, eggs and nests and tanks of frogs, fish and tortoises. Video and slide presentations are entertaining and educational.
Breakfast with the Birds, Twilight Treks, Canoeing Safaris and Ducks 'n' the Drink are some of the ways visitors can see the wetlands.
There is a cafe and the more you eat there, the better. All proceeds go to funding all you see.