33rd Friends of Parks Inc Forum

The Friends of Parks Inc Forum returns in 2024, for the first in-person forum since 2018 in Belair National Park, the birthplace for National Parks in South Australia. This will be the 33rd Forum and is being co-hosted by the Friends of Belair National Park and the Friends of Old Government House.

The Forum is for Friends of Parks Inc volunteers and National Parks and Wildlife Service staff and will be held over three days in Belair National Park and Club Marion Function Centre. The three-day program will incorporate a diverse range of expert and informative speakers, breakout sessions, panel discussions and tours. There will able be plenty of time to catch up with old and new friends over a “cuppa” with the event fully catered, with dinners on the Friday and Saturday nights.

Theme for 2024 – Strong Roots and New Branches

As Paul Kelly sings, “From Little Things Big Things Grow”, Friends of Parks Inc has grown to represent over 5,000 volunteers from over 140 groups. The theme of the 33rd Friends of Parks Inc Forum ‘Stong Roots and New Branches’ will celebrate the strong roots that have been established over the past 40+ years and will explore how Friends of Parks groups can continue grow into the future with new branches.

Ticket options

Tickets for the Forum have been partly subsidised by Friends of Parks Inc and National Parks and Wildlife Service. Ticket prices include GST. Humanitix booking fees apply. There is a limited number of tickets, so book early to avoid disappointment!!!

The following ticket options are available:

$110.00 – Forum ticket
Includes

  • Friday night Welcome Dinner at Belair National Park (two-courses – roast carvery & dessert. Non-alcoholic beverages will be provided, you may BYO alcohol)
  • Saturday program at Club Marion with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. 
  • Sunday program at Belair National Park with a choice of seven guided tours, workshops and presentations with morning tea and lunch

 $65.00 – Friends of Parks Inc Awards Dinner
Includes

  • Three-course dinner at Club Marion on Saturday 24 August (beverages not included and can be purchased from bar) 
  • Special Guest Speaker
  • 2024 Friends of Parks Inc. Awards Presentation

Forum Program 

Friday 23 August – Belair National Park – Main Pavilion

5:00pm – Registration opens
6:00pm – Welcome to Country
6:30pm – Welcome dinner

  • Two-course dinner with catering by Plenty Catering Co
    • Main course – Selection of roast meats and vegetables
    • Dessert – Choice of sticky date pudding or apple crumble with cream
    • Non-alcoholic beverages will be provided, you may BYO alcohol 

Saturday 24 August – Club Marion – Hills Function Room

8:00am – Registration opens
9:00am – Official opening

  • Hon. Susan Close MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Climate, Environment and Water
  • Ben Bruce, Department for Environment and Water, Chief Executive
  • Mike Williams, Department for Environment and Water, Executive Director – National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Duncan McKenzie OAM, President of Friends of Parks South Australia

9:40am – Panel discussion – Friendraising! How to find more ‘friends’ for your volunteering group
10:30am – Morning tea
11:00am – Guest speakers

  • Jason Tyndall, Nature Play SA – Engaging with youth
  • Mark Koolmatrie, Kool Tours and Ngarrindjeri Elder – Engaging with First Nations People

12:00pm – Q & A Panel Discussion
12:30pm – Lunch

1:30pm – Elective session 1 (choice of 2)

Session 1
•  Where do my citizen science records go??? Unravel the mysteries of biological data flows
•  Friends of Parks success stories – Friends of Onkaparinga and Landcare Association of SA

2:30pm – Afternoon tea
3:00pm – Elective session 2 (choice of 2)

  • How to use NatureMaps for Data Discovery and Mapping (Lilian Mackintosh, DEW)
  • Snake awareness with Geoff Coomb

4:00pm – 6:30pm – Break 

6:30pm – 2024 Friends of Parks Inc Awards Dinner

  • Three-course dinner (beverages available for purchase from bar)
  • Special guest speaker Yvie Eglinton, NPWS Coordinator Parks Access for All
  • Presentation of the 2024 Friends of Parks Inc. Awards

Sunday 25 August – Belair National Park

8:00am – Morning cuppa
9:00am –  Start of proceedings
9:15am – Elective session 3 (choice of 7)

  • History of Belair National Park bus tour (Friends of Belair NP)
  • Old Government House tour (Friends of Old Government House)
  • Learn about the Belair National Park ‘Bush Buddies’ program (Friends of Belair NP)
  • Fire ecology and prescribed burning bus tour (Ian Tanner, NPWS Fire Management)
  • Guided-walk: How to tell your parks story (Jason Tyndall, Nature Play SA)
  • What is your nature story? Guided art, writing and interpretive activities to capture your personal nature connection (Jessica Wilson, NPWS – Coordinator Nature Education)
  • Guest speaker – Professor Wayne Meyer: Managing our Soils, Water and    Vegetation

10:45am – Morning tea
11:15am – Elective session 4 (choice of 7)

  • History of Belair National Park bus tour (Friends of Belair NP)
  • Old Government House tour (Friends of Old Government House)
  • Learn about the Belair National Park ‘Bush Buddies’ program (Friends of Belair NP)
  • Fire ecology and prescribed burning bus tour (Ian Tanner, NPWS Fire Management)
  • Guided-walk: How to tell your parks story (Jason Tyndall, Nature Play SA)
  • What is your nature story? Guided art, writing and interpretive activities to capture your personal nature connection (Jessica Wilson, NPWS – Coordinator Nature Education)
  • Guest speaker – To be confirmed

12:45pm – Lunch
2:00pm – Forum close

33rd Friends of Parks Inc Forum

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Accomodation 

There are a variety of accommodation options available in the local area, including caravan parks, motels and hotels. The following document has suggestions for accommodation.

Friends of Parks Form – Accommodation suggestions.

2024 Friends of Parks Inc Awards  

Friends of Parks groups contribute to looking after South Australia’s national parks and environment, either as one-off activities or over a longer period of time. Sometimes though, there are exemplary contributions made by groups that leave you scratching your head and thinking ‘Wow! That is really pretty impressive for a volunteer group, which is deserving of special recognition.

The Friends of Parks Inc. Awards recognise outstanding group achievements in five different categories.

  • Habitat Restoration and Protection
    Projects/activities that protect/restore/monitor native plant communities and associated eco-systems, including but not limited to, pest plant control, re-vegetation, bush care etc.
  • Wildlife Protection and Recovery
    Projects/activities that protect/restore/monitor native wildlife communities and their associated eco-systems.
  • Innovation
    A new/different method/approach to activities that have an on-park biodiversity management outcome.
  • Cultural and Structural Heritage
    Projects/activities that are aimed at preserving/renovating/restoring/ protecting/interpreting cultural and/or structural heritage and assets on park.

  • Community Engagement
    Projects/activities that reflect communicating/interpreting/educating aspects of the South Australian parks and reserves to the SA community.

A Gold and Silver award winner will be selected for each category. The winner will receive a certificate and a donation (Gold award $1000, Silver award $500) towards their group.

Acknowledgement of support  

The 33rd Friends of Parks Inc Forum thanks the following organistations and business for helping make this event possible:

If your business or organisation would like to support the Friends of Parks Inc Forum, there are a number of sponsorship packages available.