In the spotlight - Frances Bray

Frances Bray has been actively involved in environmental campaigns and volunteer work around the NSW south coast for over two decades.

Lake Wollumboola volunteers L to R: Tom Kaar, Alan Goodall, Narelle Wright, Frances Bray and Margaret Goodall

In 1993, she established a community group - the Lake Wollumboola Protection Association Inc. to lobby for the protection of the lake’s natural values.

Most of her volunteer contributions are directed at benefitting the threatened species of Lake Wollumboola and surrounds.

Frances works each summer as a shorebird volunteer and manages the volunteer contribution to the little tern (Sternula albifrons) nesting program. Endangered pied oyster catchers (Haematopus longirostris) and migratory shorebirds also benefit from the program. Along with ornithologist Joy Pegler, Frances undertakes bird counts each month and has documented over 100 species of birds which depend on the lake.

Frances feels a special responsibility for the little tern. With ongoing threats from predators and human pressures, Frances and her colleagues give up their time to educate beach visitors about the little tern’s nesting behaviour and the threats to their survival. Signs alerting visitors to the presence of the nesting little terns, fencing and a no dog rule assist the volunteers with their education campaign.

Birds aren’t Frances’s only passion. Since the early 1990s, she has monitored the lake’s population of the endangered green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea) which breeds in the wetlands on the northern shore. With their distinctive green and gold markings, Frances has been able to recognise individuals each year. The green and golden bell frog disappeared from Lake Wollumboola for several years, however, to the delight of Frances and her friends, they have been recorded again in 2015.

Since 1999, Frances has been an active member of the Lake Wollumboola Bushcare Group which works to regenerate the bangalay sand forest and coastal saltmarsh endangered ecological communities.

For Frances, the environmental volunteer experience continues to be an enriching journey of discovery in understanding the natural lake environment and the fascinating species it supports. She hopes to inspire others to join her in the challenge.

By Sue Luscombe, OEH

To learn more about the Saving our Species program or to get involved, visit our website.