From left, Uncle Mark Flanders (NPWS), volunteer guide Echah Wright and volunteer guide Karla Gillies celebrate the end of a busy year and the end an era.
From left, Uncle Mark Flanders (NPWS), volunteer guide Echah Wright and volunteer guide Karla Gillies celebrate the end of a busy year and the end an era.

Popular program dropped for new nature experience

AFTER Nine years Coffs Harbour City Council has called time on it's popular volunteer-led Coffs Ambassador Tours Programme.

The Council will debut a new nature-based experience and education tour program this year and will be look for paid guides to help.

"The Coffs Ambassador Tours programme has been an incredible success driven by inspiring, passionate and knowledgeable volunteers, coordinators and supporters," Deputy Mayor, Councillor Tegan Swan said. 

"It's been an amazing example of achieving great things by working together and is a prime example of what we can do when Council partners with passionate members of our community to deliver real environmental outcomes for locals and visitors," she said.

Cr Swan led the thanks at a celebration just before Christmas for all the current and former guides and Council staff behind the initiative.

She said after nine years, it was clear that community appetite for nature-based education remains strong. The refreshed new programme will see a move from a volunteer format to one delivered by Council employees and contractors with paid opportunities for future facilitators and guides. 

She said for the past nine years, locals and visitors have experienced the wonders of some of the region's best-kept natural secrets on Coffs Ambassadors Tours led by inspirational volunteer guides who have shared their knowledge of our headlands, beaches, rock pools, rainforests, estuaries, shipwrecks and places of deep cultural significance right across the area.

The Coffs Ambassadors Tours had been formed to increase awareness of the biodiversity of the region's unique local environment and help people learn how to change their daily habits to help protect and enhance that environment through enjoyable mini adventures. 

Since it began in 2010, 22 volunteer Coffs Ambassador Tour Guides have taken over 4,800 people of all ages on interpretive tours, helping both residents and visitors deepen their connection to nature and to live more sustainably. 

Cr Swan said the new programme format would enable greater flexibility in how it is delivered and increase the reach of its environmental education messages to a wider audience. Participants, delivery formats and tour times will be diversified and group bookings from schools and various other groups will be accommodated in the exciting new schedule on offer when the new programme launches in the first half of 2019. 

For more information on the new program and other innovative, sustainable living ideas and initiatives, go to ourlivingcoast.com.au.


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