EDITORIAL | Learn a thing or two about your own town

Do you know that Granite Island’s little penguins are at their most vulnerable time of year?

In the lead up to Easter every penguin will go through a three-week moulting period. During that time their feathers are not waterproof so they do not swim nor fish.

They can be stressed during this time, and if you see anyone on Granite Island shining white lights or making noise on the island – you could politely remind them.

But there is whole a list of other things you probably did not know about Granite Island and the little penguins.

The birds can spend long times at sea, and although they breed on Granite Island, it is not always their home. Little penguins can travel many kilometres in one day, and have been found up along the metropolitan coast, the south east and towards Kangaroo Island.

Anyone who goes on a Granite Island Nature Tour will learn all this and more. But how many locals have been on a tour recently? I haven’t.

You could quiz a group of international tourists after a day exploring the south coast and they might just know more about Victor Harbor than the locals do.

If you ask some people about the penguins, their answer is, “I didn’t think there were any left?”

The City of Victor Harbor will hold an event on April 7 to encourage locals to become tourists in their own town.

The idea is to create greater engagement between south coast people and their tourist attractions.

Knowledge is power, and the more local people know about the penguins, the Horse Drawn Tram, the SA Whale Centre and other attractions, the more they can inform visitors.

There is no security on Granite Island, and arming local people with the knowledge to politely pass on information to tourists could go a long way.

There is a lot of misinformation out there – you only have to read comments on a few of The Times’ Facebook posts.

A Granite Island tour is just one of the many attractions our region has to offer, from the Coorong all the way to Second Valley. 

It’s easy to sit back and point the finger over the decline of the penguin population, and Granite Island’s ailing facilities – but why not get involved? Or at least learn a thing or two.

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