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Don Butcher

Don Butcher at Inala Nature on Bruny Island

Don has pursued a journey with the natural world since childhood inspired by the sandstone bushland that surrounds Sydney. With a passion for parrots - Forshaw & Cooper’s ‘Parrots of Australia’ was like a bible through teenage years, the book instilling early interest in conservation.

Since 1991 Don has been involved with the interpretation of the natural world, working for organisations such as NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Parks Tasmania, Kakadu NP, La Trobe University’s School of Outdoor & Environmental Education and Healesville Sanctuary along with private tour companies.

The highlight of Don’s last few years of guiding has been a wetland cultural tour. Don has worked with a legendary Aboriginal guide. ‘Patsy’ a Gune speaking woman from Central Arnhemland. Following Patsy’s lead the tour forages for seasonal food culminating in a sunset dinner at quite likely the most important magpie goose feeding site in northern Australia. Dinner happens next to tens of thousands of honking and feasting geese at this critically important chestnut swamp while the birds dig for chestnut (Elocharis dulcis) corms. For millenia, hunting of geese has brought together huge seasonal gatherings of people across the Kakadu region.  With kitchen grindstones near the wetland edge and as geese are often painted in Kakadu shelters, this a big sustainability story documented in stone. Such a privilege to witness such spectacular abundance in an Australian landscape and realise the deep time connection of birds and people.

Fascinated by Australia’s Gondwanan journey - Don realised while conducting fieldwork in cool temperate rainforest that beech trees have a genetic memory to survive polar winters. Several Australian plant families provide insight to our  southern attachment to Antarctica. The Inala Jurassic Garden helps tell the incredible story of Gondwana.

Don is passionate about connecting people to the natural world and birding is a great opportunity for this immersion. He’s excited to join the Inala team.