Osprey House volunteers can’t wait to show off their spruced-up centre to visitors when it reopens this month.
The educational environmental centre on the banks of the Pine River, near Dohles Rocks at Griffin, has been renovated during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Moreton Bay Regional Council has refurbished the stage area, replaced timber and added shade sails; replaced the front steps and rejuvenated the front entrance; and installed a new digital screen in the theatrette.
Volunteer Pip Grant-Taylor says the most obvious upgrade is the stage area which has been refurbished and now has an enhanced seating configuration.
“It’s going to be a lovely place for people to sit and it will also be a great outdoor learning space for school groups when they can visit again,” Pip says.
Students will be able to use the space to complete outdoor modules, such as one on native plants and they’ll even be able to pot their own there.
The work took place in March and April, while the centre was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Osprey House will reopening from June 15, Monday to Friday 10am-4pm. From June 27 the centre will be open seven days a week, 10am-4pm.
Up to 20 people, including volunteers, will be permitted inside at any time under the current COVID-19 government regulations.
There will be free general access outside and social distancing will be required throughout the centre and its surrounds. Hand sanitiser will be provided and surfaces cleaned regularly.
The Ospreys have been blissfully unaware of the COVID-19 pandemic and doing what these birds of prey normally do.
Pip says during the shutdown, they’ve been building up their nest and displaying the usual courtship behaviours seen during the mating season. She’s hoping there will be some eggs by August or September.
“The osprey are breeding at the moment, so there will be a lot of activity (for people to see) – bringing back fish and sticks to the nest,” she says. “We expect to see two (chicks) hatched and growing by the end of the year.”
Their home is a 21m man-made nesting platform complete with overhead monitoring cameras, which allow visitors to watch what they’re doing from inside the centre.
“Because it’s outdoors and it has a wide variety of wildlife and bird life. We have in the past had koalas, there are lots of bird including migrating waders,” Pip explains.
Boardwalks meander through the mangroves so you can be immersed in the environment and see the wildlife up close.
Pip’s been a volunteer at Osprey House for more than 10 years and loves the birds.
“It’s the most wonderful place. We have people come from overseas to see our ospreys. They’re a very important bird, they only eat fish so they’re an indicator if the water quality is good,” she says.
“We try to gently and kindly impress on the kids the need to protect the environment.”
Pip says the team of volunteers have a vast knowledge of the local environment and are only too happy to share it with visitors.
She’s missed volunteering at the centre and chatting to visitors. It seems she’s not the only one …
“The idea of being able to go back soon is geeing everyone up and we’re looking forward to it,” she says.
For more information about Osprey House, visit the website.
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