Local flora celebrated for Science Week

SCIENCE WEEK: Peri Coleman sits among the saltmarshes during her recent field study.

SCIENCE WEEK: Peri Coleman sits among the saltmarshes during her recent field study.

Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula (NREP) is celebrating local saltmarsh plants, the samphires, this National Science Week with the launch of a new book and a series of free guided field trips.

Author of the new book ‘Samphires of the Eyre Peninsula’ and renowned scientist Peri Coleman will lead the free field trips later this month.

Ms Coleman recently completed a three-week field study covering 2500 kilometres of the peninsula to research for her new book and said that the samphires are an important factor in protecting the local area.

“The plants are a big part of the Eyre Peninsula that provide nursery functions for our fisheries, host endangered butterflies and birds,” she said.

“They are also unrivaled at taking carbon away from the atmosphere, and can assist in protecting shorelines from the effects of sea level rise.”

The fields trips will aim to highlight the importance of the local coastal saltmarshes and give the community an opportunity to be involved in biological and ecological science.

NREP education and volunteer support officer Barbara Murphy described samphires as unusual native succulent plants which were often overlooked.

“You’ll be amazed at what you will learn about these remarkable salt-tolerant plants,” she said.

“For example, it was soda ash produced from the samphire glassworts that revolutionised early soap and glass making, two inventions that took us out of the dark ages.”

Ms Murphy also said that people should book in early for the field trips to make sure they secured themselves a place.

“I encourage anyone interested in attending to book early, because I think it’s going to be popular.”

The field trips will take place from August 21 to 24 in Port Lincoln, Tumby Bay, Streaky Bay, Arno Bay, Cowell and Whyalla.

In addition to the field trip, participants will each receive one free copy of author Peri Coleman’s new book to take home.

For more information on the program or to register, visit www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/eyrepeninsula or call Barbara Murphy on 0427 188 546.