Lord Howe Island located 600km off the New South Wales coast is renowned for its spectacular scenery, important breeding grounds for colonies of seabirds, and its rich biodiversity including many endangered and critically endangered species not found anywhere else in the world.
Undisputedly one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world, World Heritage Lord Howe Island is made up of 75% protected park preserve, encompassed in a marine park, and is as fascinating as it is beautiful. With a legacy of world-class conservation projects under its belt, the latest project has been 10 years in the making and is the largest undertaking of its kind anywhere in the world.
Your involvement in our Conservation Volunteers LHI Program will assist in the species recovery of the world’s rarest insect as well as allowing you to participate in a program that will change the lives of critically endangered animals including the Lord Howe Island Phasmid and the Lord Howe Island Woodhen; all whilst enjoying the pristine natural environment of Lord Howe Island.
MAY – BIRDS – FEATURING PROVIDENCE PETRELS
Showcasing Lord Howe Island’s incredible bird species, including the Lord Howe Island Woodhen, one of the rarest birds on earth. With its thriving seabird colonies, Lord Howe Island is also a pilgrimage site for birdwatchers and was declared an Important Bird Area in 2008.
Lord Howe Island Woodhen: “During the mid-1960s the woodhen was one of the most endangered birds in the world, but with a successful breeding program and other conservation programs it has been brought back from the brink of extinction.” Australian Museum. Hear firsthand from locals involved in bringing this iconic species back from the brink of extinction.
Providence petrels: The only known breeding sites of the Providence Petrel are Lord Howe Island and Philip Island, NI. Included by David Attenborough in his series ‘Life of birds’ he described this species as ‘extraordinarily friendly to human beings’. You will accompany a team from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and experience the amazing phenomena of ‘calling’ wild seabirds down from the sky as you assist in research into the life of these rare seabirds.
Take part in Bird Species ID workshops, which contribute to Birdlife Australia’s LHI Bird Monitoring Project and participate in lectures and tours with local specialists and the Taronga Zoo captive management team as part of our current conservation project.
Partnering with: Taronga Zoo and OEH
JUNE –MARINE FEATURING SEABIRDS AND PLASTIC
Our seabirds are being impacted by ocean plastic debris. To combat this impact, Lord Howe Island has a number of successful community-driven waste reduction programs, working towards reducing single-use plastic and is home to a world-class waste management facility that diverts 86% of the island’s waste from landfill.
This project monitors both micro and macro ocean plastic. Plastic is collected off the beaches, sorted and classified into various categories then recorded into national databases, including Tangaroa Blue – marine debris initiative. Partnering with DPI Marine Parks LHI help survey Lord Howe Island’s diverse intertidal ecosystems and provide valuable data to help understand the issue and support solutions.
JULY- INVASIVE SPECIES – FEATURING REMOTE WEEK
Invasive weeds are identified as one of the most serious threats to Lord Howe Island’s biodiversity and world heritage values. The Lord Howe Island Board has implemented an ambitious 30 year Weed Eradication Program to remove at least 25 priority invasive weeds. This program will be showcased in July with Volunteers having the opportunity to hike remote and settlement locations of the island to assist in weed removal with our experts.
There will be rainforest plant identification workshops and an opportunity to assist in the revegetation of Blackburn Island – a project aimed at preparing the island for the reintroduction of the Lord Howe Island Phasmid, the world’s rarest insect.
Partnering with: Melbourne Zoo
AUGUST – INVERTEBRATES – FEATURING PHASMID CELEBRATION
Rodents are voracious predators of invertebrates. The loss of invertebrates is particularly significant because invertebrates play an important role in maintaining natural ecological functions on Lord Howe Island. Rodents are also responsible for the local extirpation of the endangered Lord Howe Island Phasmid, now found only on the nearby rock stack Balls Pyramid, the world’s tallest rock stack.
This month we will celebrate the discovery and revival of the rare Phasmid and the wider context of invertebrate conservation on the island and across the globe.
Partnering with: Melbourne Zoo and Australian Museum.
SEPTEMBER –PROTECTING PARADISE – SHOWCASING THE BEST OF THE BEST
September will showcase the very best of Lord Howe Island’s conservation and sustainability initiatives.
Lord Howe Island’s renowned pristine natural environment is maintained through world-class conservation efforts that began more than 100 years ago and continue today.
With a long history of successful and ongoing sustainability and conservation programs to protect and enhance the World Heritage values; Lord Howe Island’s sustainability programs have recently been recognised with five prestigious environmental awards in 2018. Winner of the 30th Anniversary Gold Banksia Award for excellence in sustainability for the island’s holistic approach over more than a century, the Lord Howe Island Board were also awarded the Banksia sustainability award for a government. Adding to two Green Globe awards for Regional Sustainability Award and the Natural Environment Award and a SERA (Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia) award, recognising Lord Howe Island as a flagship for sustainability, providing a model that can be shared by others.
These programs include the development of the tourist bed cap of 400 people at any one time, community-driven recycling and waste reduction programs and a world class waste management facility that diverts 86% of the island’s waste from landfill.
From a conservation and rehabilitation perspective the island has delivered many successful programs over several decades including eradication of feral pigs, cats and goats, a world-renowned Weed Eradication Program which is in its 14th year and our volunteer programs (inc: LHI Conservation Volunteers 2018), whilst recovery programs have brought species back from the brink of extinction including the Lord Howe Island Phasmid and Woodhen.
We are now on the cusp of one of the most significant conservation projects in the world in 2019 – the Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Project. The eradication of rodents from Lord Howe Island will have significant ecological impacts, with our conservation volunteers establishing important baseline monitoring data for this incredible conservation effort.
In September, we will also be focusing on specialised Marine Park projects that monitor endemic fish including the Lord Howe Island McCulloch’s anemonefish (Amphiprion mccullochi).
The LHI McCulloch’s anemonefish is an endemic fish, found only within Lord Howe Island Marine Park and nearby Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs. Due to its small geographic range, low abundance at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs to the north, and its reliance on anemones, A.mccullochi may have the greatest extinction risk of the endemic fishes for LHI Marine Park. This anemonefish is locally abundant at LHI where its host anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) is also abundant. LHI Marine Park is the last remaining stronghold in the world for these anemonefish. Volunteers will be logging data on this and other endemic species which along with our coral health checks make up the key indicator species for the marine park.
Partnering with: DPI Marine Parks