Milly Formby flew into Ballina just before Easter, on her epic ‘migration’ around Australia. Avisure, having strong connections to the area through ongoing work with Ballina Byron Gateway Airport (BBGA), was proud to sponsor the Ballina leg of her journey. Jill Brix, Avisure general manager, and Julie Stewart, BBGA manager, caught up with Milly after her arrival.
As we explained in our previous post on Milly’s journey, her planned 20,000 km flight around the Australian coast parallels the migrations of millions of shorebirds. Shorebirds are the world’s most endangered group of bird species. Also known as waders, they are most often seen wading around wetlands, mudflats and intertidal areas to feed. Half an hour north of Ballina are the
Byron Bay Wetlands, where over 227 species of birds have been spotted. The constructed wetlands are part of the award-winning 100 ha Byron Bay Integrated Water Management Reserve, designed to minimise the impact of the sewage treatment plant on the surrounding ecosystems.
The wetlands were the perfect spot for Milly to meet with volunteer members of the Byron Bird Buddies, and give a presentation on Wing Threads, her journey so far and the importance of protecting shorebirds and their habitats. Highlighting the success of the wetlands, the group spotted a black-necked stork (also known as a jabiru), which used to be common in NSW, but is now endangered in the state because of the draining of wetlands and habitat degradation generally.
Milly takes the opportunity on her stops to catch up with local groups, especially school groups, to raise awareness of importance of shorebirds. Having attended her Byron Wetlands presentation, Jill Brix can highly recommend taking the opportunity to hear Milly on one of her stops. ‘She’s a joy to hang around with, and her knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject are infectious’.