It might have been a very cold evening, but that didn't stop around 150 people from making their way down to Wingham Brush Nature Reserve for the Wingham Solstice Lantern Walk on Saturday, June 22.
The annual Winter Solstice Lantern Walk is a community event run by the Manning River Turtle Conservation Group (MRTCG) to raise awareness on the endangered Manning River helmeted turtle, found nowhere else in the world but the Manning catchment.
"It was fantastic to see so many families braving the cold to come down to the river and learn about the Manning River turtle, and take in the lovely atmosphere that walking with a lantern in the dark brings," said MRTCG member, Bronwyn Ellis.
The respect for each other and our Wingham Brush was lovely.Bronwyn Ellis, Manning River Turtle Conservation Group
"The respect for each other and our Wingham Brush was lovely."
The walk was led by the Spirit Lantern, a Manning River turtle lantern made by Mark McCarthy and Handsonskins drum friends at the creative hub The Makers Way in Taree. The parade made its way through Wingham Brush, up Farquhar Street and finished with a lap of Central Park.
"We were happy to welcome many new faces as well as families who had been before. Wingham and District Preschool, Old Bar Public and Wingham Cubs had carried beautiful handmade lanterns," said Clare Rourke from the MRTCG.
"Thanks to Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services for auspicing our group which enables us to bring our community together in a free, family event celebrating our local flora and fauna," Clare added.
The Manning River Turtle Conservation Group (MRTCG) raised a small amount of funds via the sale of lanterns and specially crafted Manning River turtle hatchlings on the evening. The money raised goes toward running the event, and to possible future programs such as nest protection for Manning River turtle nests.