For most of humanity’s existence, we have lived as an inextricable part of nature. We were keenly attuned to day length, weather, plant growth and wildlife behaviour, which gave us the knowledge and skills to survive and thrive. Today, we need places that protect functioning ecosystems, like Sydney Olympic Park, to have a chance to reconnect with our natural heritage.
Our health depends on nature’s health. Many studies have found mental and physical benefits of being in nature, and nature-based therapy such as birdwatching and walking in nature has been prescribed to people suffering chronic illnesses from anxiety to heart disease. The importance of nature is even more obvious during lockdown.
While you’re out there, try to appreciate the Park as if you are an ecologist. Take in the scenery not just for their calming quality, but also for their importance as homes for diverse plant and wildlife communities.
Enjoy your walk on pathways and boardwalks, mindful you’re in close contact with the homes of many other beings, plant, and animal. Take care not to step on long grasses, rocks or in water, to protect small animals you may not be able to see, and to avoid introducing deadly diseases and pests into the environment.
Create good memories and leave only footprints. Every year, large numbers of animals are harmed when they eat plastic litter or are entangled in it. You can help by choosing to use reusable products and alternatives to balloons and picking up any pieces of long string or plastic rings you see on pathways.
Let young wildlife grow to be as strong as they can be. Human food including mince lack sufficient nutrients and are known to cause weak bones in chicks which are then unable to fledge. Keep your food to yourself, so our wildlife can thrive.
Remember, Badu Mangroves and Newington Armory are dog-free zones but there are designated off-leash areas in other parts of Sydney Olympic Park.
Together, we can keep Sydney Olympic Park one of the best places to enjoy our unique natural environment, for us and for future generations.