WHAT’S COMING UP?
SUNDAY 20th MAY 8.30am - Explore tracks on the Douglas foothills of Mt Stuart, at the rear of JCU’s western campus. Please see here for full details and a map of where to meet. Wear sunscreen, hat and strong shoes. Bring water and snacks. This is a morning walk only.
SATURDAY 26th MAY- GetUp solar tour. A local GetUp action group is organising a tour of two solar power sites in Townsville. This will run from 9.30 to 2pm and will include a picnic lunch. For more information and/or to book a place on the tour, just click here.
SATURDAY 23rd – SUNDAY 24th June: Visit Edmund Kennedy National Park and walks around Cardwell. This weekend trip will take us a little further afield and will surely introduce some of our members to some new special places. On Saturday we hope to do some of the short walks along the Forest Drive behind the town, then meet-up with local wildlifers for a special evening event. Sunday will feature a visit to the national park, just 5km north of the town: visiting the Arthur Thorsborne Arboretum, walking a track through the park and returning along a truly ‘wild’ beach, with views to Goold and Hinchinbrook Islands and the Family group. This is peak “grey nomad” season so please read this post for a rough program, some info on places to stay - and book early!
SUNDAY 29th JULY: WHALE-WATCHING WITH SEALINK !! SeaLink has expanded its ‘adventure cruises’ adding 3-hour whale-watching trips to their program. We have chosen to make the first of the six scheduled whale-watching trips our July field outing on Sunday 29th. These morning trips run from 9am-12midday and offer a “whale guarantee” – if no whales are seen you can re-book for free on a subsequent trip! Cost is $69 adults, $49 children with family discounts.
MAHOGANY GLIDER PROJECT (Ongoing). This project, which you will all have heard about by now or which you can read about here, got off to a slower than hoped for start due to the Feb/March rains. Then just as the country was drying out, we struck an unrelated access problem. But we are now getting down to serious business and looking at dates over the next few months to conduct day/night visits – day-time to make general observations and to set or re-set cameras, and night-time spotlighting trips when any gliders present will be active. We need to keep numbers small (max 5 or 6 people per trip) but if you are seriously interested OR have experience in, or would like to learn about, this type of fieldwork OR you own a four-wheel drive which you are willing to use to help transport people/equipment we would be very happy to hear from you!! Send us an email if you would like further info about what is involved or to let us know how you might help or when you might be available – eg daytime /night-time, weekdays/weekends.
WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING?
TREE-CLEARING REFORMS PASSED! Sanity returns to Queensland’s vegetation management with last month’s passage of legislation to re-instate most of the tree-clearing measures that were ripped away by the Newman government in 2013. The reforms are not perfect but should see an end to the wide-scale damage, including the terrible loss of wildlife and wildlife habitat, that has been allowed to happen over the last 5 years. Thank-you to all those who sent submissions to the parliamentary inquiry – nearly 14,000 were received! Liz and Beth both attended the committee hearings in Townsville and for those who would like to look more closely at individual submissions, witness presentations or the committee’s report, they can all be accessed here.
$5 MILLION FOR OUR REEF – CAN IT POSSIBLY BE ENOUGH? News of the Federal Government’s $500 million funding for measures to protect the Great Barrier Reef from three of its biggest threats is welcome: this money will go towards improving water quality, controlling crown-of thorns starfish and ‘reef restoration’. But the fact is that, unless we can rein in the biggest threats of all – the extent and acceleration of climate change – these measures cannot save it. A recent disturbing report on how the reef is changing in ways never recorded before came from a team of scientists from Australia, UK and USA. They found that the unnatural silence of degraded sections of the reef was making it impossible for juvenile fish, which develop in open waters, to find their way back to the reefs they depend on for their adult lives. You can read an ABC news report here and slightly more detailed AIMS account here.
STRONGER NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS are on the urgent wish-list for Australia’s national bird organisation, BirdLife Australia, and many other groups. With Australia having one of the highest rates of species extinction in the world, stronger laws are not “strictly for the birds” but will benefit all types of wildlife and our biodiversity. You can read more about why this change is so urgently needed, and sign an online petition, by following this link.
MARCH FIELD TRIP: Our scheduled February outing was postponed due to the welcome rains that began falling that month. But it was dry enough in March for us to have a rewarding, if muddy, excursion to our mahogany glider project site. Read about it here.
APRIL 50th BIRTHDAY PICNIC AND WALK: We had a sparkling day and good company to help us celebrate this landmark. You can find the story and pictures here.
OUR BRANCH AGM was held at NQCC’s offices last month and saw the re-election of Denise, Beth and Jane as president, secretary and treasurer, respectively. Liz was persuaded to re-join the committee as vice-president. We also welcomed Julia, Sandra and Christine as ‘committee supporters’. At the conclusion of the AGM there was a discussion about our mahogany glider project, and a viewing of the 2013 documentary, Every Tree Matters to Me. The President’s report for 2017 is available here.