Celebrate Cattai on World Wetlands Day

TO commemorate World Wetlands Day this year Greater Taree City Council is inviting the community to come along and experience Cattai Wetlands, one of the Manning's hidden natural treasures.

Following the success of last year's events, two events will again be held in 2014 - "Cuppa at Cattai" on Thursday January 30 and "Breakfast with the Birds" on Sunday, February 2.

The picturesque Cattai Wetlands near Coopernook was once farmland, suffering from the effects of acid sulfate soils, land clearing and weeds.

The previous landowner recognised the conservation value of the wetlands and worked earnestly in partnership with council to secure its protection, resulting in council purchasing the Cattai Wetlands in 2003.

With the assistance of government grants, council has been able to undertake the restorative works required to transform the wetlands back to its former glory.

With funding provided through the Australian government's Caring for Our Country initiative for the Cattai Wetlands/Big Swamp project, council is able to provide the community a delicious breakfast in the company of the many birds that visit the wetlands each day, with over 170 different bird species have been sighted to date.

The community is then invited to explore the wetland that is currently covered in the spectacular cape waterlily. You are invited to undertake a self-guided walk around the wetland at your own leisure or join one of the guided tours where you will hear firsthand the amazing story of the Cattai Wetlands.

For a year now, Cattai Wetlands has been opened to the public four days a week, Friday through to Monday, from 8am to 3pm and every day during the school holidays.

The new opening hours have received a great response from the community with positive feedback being received by council through the visitor surveys and the Visitor Information Centre.

Extension of these opening hours will be considered during the preparation of the Future Directions Strategy for the Cattai Wetlands which is due for completion in early 2014.

Further details on the World Wetlands Day events are:

o 7am Thursday, January 30: Cuppa at Cattai - explore the wetlands at your own leisure or join one of the guided tours. A scrumptious morning tea will be served at the end of your walk under the newly constructed outdoor shelter.

o 7am Sunday, February 2: Breakfast with the Birds - again, start the walk at your own leisure or join one of the guided tours. A cooked barbecue breakfast will be served by the Harrington Lions Club between 7am and 10am for a gold coin donation.

The walk around the wetland is approximately 2kms and with stops along the way normally takes about an hour. Other walks are also available at the Wetlands including a 500m walk up to the Spring Hill Lookout where on a good day you can see as far south as Cape Hawke, and all the way to Crowdy Head. We recommend a moderate fitness level and that you wear sturdy shoes, long pants, sun protection and insect repellent. Drinking water will be available.

For catering purposes an RSVP is required by no later than Tuesday, January 28.

Please contact Greater Taree City Council's Customer Service Centre on 6592 5399 to book your place. Directions to the wetlands will be provided at the time of your booking.

Contact Tanya Cross, council's team leader environmental services on 6592 5248 for more information.

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