In the 1980s there were a number of small nature clubs operating in South Australia. However, over time, each of the groups closed down.

Rona Sakko, a parent whose children attended the Bellevue Heights Primary School at the time, was passionate about the need for children to connect with nature. She gathered together a small steering group to look at the feasibility of establishing a nature club based at Bellevue Heights.

The local Bellevue Heights Primary School offered the use of the school hall for monthly meetings, and the school has continued to provide this invaluable support over all these years.

After embarking on a publicity campaign, the first meeting of the new club – called the Bellevue Heights Junior Field Naturalists Club – was held in September 1983. We were delighted to be inundated with well over 100 children and parents. Hans Mincham was the first guest speaker and his topic was “Insects”.

To this day our club has continued its success. Our hundreds of speakers over the years have included such legends as Prof David Paton, Daryl Kraehenbuehl, John Ling, Terry Reardon, Russell Baudinette, John Hunwick, Hal Crouch, Adam Lockett, Mark Hutchinson, Andy Austin, Roger Seymour … the list goes forever on. Typical field trips have included  Hallett Cove geology, marine biology, bird walks, conservation parks, mangroves, fungi forays, bird banding and so much more. Our club was one of the first groups to tour what at the time was called the Zoo Agistment Area, later to be named Monarto Zoo. We also had a memorable tour of Warrawong Sanctuary with founder John Wamsley.

Our club has been sponsoring a Murray Tortoise at the Adelaide Zoo almost since the inception of our club.

Our club’s mascot is ERIC (Environment Rests In Conservation) the Echidna.

The Field Naturalists Society of SA has been very supportive, helping with guest speakers when required and providing financial assistance for special projects.

Our club celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009 with the donation of an outdoor bench seat (with an engraved plaque) to the Bellevue Heights Primary School. We were also presented with a microscope by the Field Naturalists Society.

Key dates:

September 1983: First meeting of the newly formed Bellevue Heights Junior Field Naturalists Club

2009: Club celebrated its 25th anniversary

2009: Club became incorporated as the Bellevue Heights Junior Field Naturalists Club Inc

2010: Name of the Club was changed to Junior Field Naturalists SA Inc

2011: Appointment of our Patron, Prof Chris Daniels