Trail’s tale of flora and fauna well worth the walk

Passionate about sharing his knowledge of Western Australia’s environment and more, Leigh Simmons is a professor of Evolutionary Biology at The University of Western Australia and the proud author of a new book titled Naturalist on the Bibbulmun.

Part field guide, part travelogue and part ode to our State’s South West, Naturalist on the Bibbulmun is about one man’s journey with his son through an ancient and extraordinary part of the world.

Each chapter of the book is about a specific section of the Bibbulmun Track, which stretches more than 1000km between Kalamunda in the north to Albany in the south.

Throughout the book, Leigh uses his knowledge of ecology and evolutionary biology to document the animals and plants found during the Noongar seasons of kambarang and birak, from November to January, with colour photographs throughout.

Leigh says it was too difficult to include every animal and plant species found along the track such is the extent of the biodiversity in the region.

“As we were doing the walk between November to January, it was impossible to produce a comprehensive field guide,” he says.

“However, I do hope people read the book and realise the importance of natural habitats and biodiversity that can be found here in Western Australia.”

Having moved to Perth from London more than 30 years ago, Leigh says he instantly fell in love with the place after visiting Kings Park.

“While London is a wonderful place to visit, it’s a horrible place to live for a zoologist,” he says.

“After spending some time here, I started to appreciate the amazing resources and natural environments outside of Kings Park and eventually walked a section of the Bibbulmun Track.

“While I’ve always been infatuated by nature, getting to experience the Bibbulmun Track really reinforced that.”

Read the full story here.

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