Volunteer of the Month

In this section of EstuaryWatch News we celebrate one of our dedicated volunteers. 


Volunteer: Yvonne Sheppard

Yvonne Sheppard (centre right), with Rose Herben (far left), Deirdre Murphy (centre left) and Cathrine Fahnle (far right).

EstuaryWatch group: Wye River

How did you first get involved in EstuaryWatch?

As part of an initiative by our Progress Association to start up a monitoring group to collect data on our Estuary, I was asked if I was interested in joining.


What excites you the most about EstuaryWatch?

The fact that we are creating an information database of our estuary against which to compare any unusual events.  Also that it heightens our daily interest and observation of our estuary.


What is one of your most memorable EstuaryWatch monitoring events?

One day, when two of us did the monitoring and had to measure the berm – at that time a very rare occurrence for our estuary.  We could have sold tickets!  Especially when I had to splash back through the river to retrieve the berm pole which we had left behind standing up in the sand.


If you could describe EstuaryWatch in 5 words or less, what would it be?

Interesting, important, rewarding, professionally supported


Have you seen any notable changes in your estuary over the time you have been monitoring?

Last year’s very dry Spring, and the Christmas Day bushfire, put a lot of pressure on our river and consequently the estuary.  At the height of the emergency, our fire tankers filled up from the river when protecting the town center.  Unusually for our estuary, for a few weeks the depleted river’s flow into the sea was intermittently halted until some welcome rain events eventually restored the usual constant outward flow.


How would you describe your local estuary?

Usually quite stable.  The sand distribution often depletes/restores due to king tides or extreme weather events and sometimes the river’s course to the sea changes but then manages to revert to its usual course.  I was recently shown a photo of the our estuary taken about eighty years ago and there was the river’s snaking course across the sand which we are familiar with today.


Did you grow up on the coast?

I grew up in Colac about an hour’s drive away from the coast and spent memorable holidays in Lorne and Apollo Bay during my childhood.


What do you do when you are not EstuaryWatching?

With such a small permanent community, one tends to become involved in a number of groups and activities.  I am secretary of the local CFA Auxiliary which runs two fundraising fetes each year to support our local brigade.  Following EstuaryWatch monitoring on the 1st Sunday of each month, we put on our Waterwatch hats, collect water samples from two separate sites along our river and perform a variety of chemical analyses, the results of which are forwarded to CCMA.  I am also a member of a local sub-group of Wongarra to Wye Landcare currently involved in dealing with the weeds rapidly colonizing the burnt out areas in the township.  For a bit of light relief am also a member of our local book group.  Retirement is a wonderful thing!


What might people be surprised to know about you?

No surprises, what you see is what you get.


Thanks Yvonne, Keep up the great work!!