Greetings everyone – hoping you are all well despite it being long time, no see! With the restrictions brought by COVID-19 we have no field trips or glider surveys to report on and none of the usual upcoming events to publicise! But (fingers-crossed) we are moving into a period where such activities will, with due caution, become possible. Even so, we have not been entirely idle, so here’s a summary of what we’ve been up to and some items of other news.
Mahogany Glider survey ~ With the COVID-19 lock-down introduced in March, trips to our project site were curtailed. However, the last set of cameras retrieved yielded a number of photos of both sugar and mahogany gliders, especially around their favoured Albizia procera. (Photo at left appears to be on a poplar gum). With further easing of restrictions on travel distances and numbers of people in a group, more visits may be possible before the project ends on 30 June. Meanwhile the group is now working to compile a final report on our findings, and observations (good and bad) as well as recommendations for better land management, which will be submitted to the Queensland Dept of Environment and Science.
Advocacy ~ We made a submission to the Queensland Government supporting their proposed extension of bans on small plastic items, and suggesting more items that could be included in the ban. We also submitted comments to the Federal Dept. of Environment and Energy on the current review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. It has been disturbing to hear that Environment Minister, Senator Sussan Ley, is considering making changes to the Act, before this Review has been completed. While we agree that changes which would increase protection for wildlife ravaged by the bushfires could be urgently needed, the rumours are that the changes are more likely to be those favouring the timber industry, and others, that want to exploit currently protected wildlife habitat. Not on, Minister!
Mundy Creek, muddy waters ~ The problems at Mundy Creek just won’t go away despite the tenacious efforts of the Catchment Care /Natureway Regeneration group. The continual degradation of this precious inner-city wetland and grassland habitat, as the ironically named ‘Haven’ housing development proceeds, is sad to see. Please read our separate post here and also visit the group’s Facebook site. If you feel moved to contact the Mayor and let her know how you feel, please go for it!
Donations ~ Last month we mentioned the struggle facing the Save the Bilby Fund after having to cancel their major fund raiser, the annual September Bilby Festival. Our Branch committee agreed to make a donation of $150 to the fund and, when I last checked, they had raised $65,576 or 57% of the $115,000 that they usually raise from the festival. So, although they still have a way to go, they are edging closer. If you would like to help, this link will take you to their Give Easy page.
We donated a similar amount to the Environmental Defenders Office, the wonderful national, non-profit, environmental legal centre that uses the law to help protect our wildlife and natural heritage. EDO gives free legal advice and support to communities and individuals from all walks of life, and will take cases to court where such action is necessary and possible. They work to strengthen our environmental laws, hold government and industry to account where these fall short of legal requirements to protect the environment and help train the next generation of environmental lawyers. In latest news EDO will be heading to court representing young people in their human rights-based challenge to Clive Palmer’s proposed Galilee Basin coal-mine. Read more here.
New face at NQCC ~ Last month we reported sadly on the departure of NQCC’s campaign director, Tarquin Moon. The good news is that the organisation lost no time in finding a replacement. Simon Cheers grew up in Townsville and is very familiar with our local environment and the special places in our region. He has worked on environmental management projects in South Australia and with the Central Land Council in the Northern Territory. He has also made a career as a stand-up comedian, performing at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and other venues around Australia! A virtual meet and greet was held on 13 May, but perhaps it won’t be too long before we can meet him in person. And, by the way, if you are not already an NQCC member, you can join up for only $20 and – since all their memberships fall due on 5 June – now is the perfect time to do it!
Gardening in the time of Corona ~ Have you been spending more time in the garden as a way to keep occupied, healthy and socially distanced? The good news is that the Bush Garden nursery has now re-opened, so you can visit in person between 8am-2pm on Fridays and Saturdays. But if you aren’t able to visit, you can also order online by following this simple 4-step process. Happy gardening!
Free books!! ~ Christine Dalliston, who many of you will know as a stalwart of Townsville’s Coastal & Dry Tropics Landcare organisation, is having a book giveaway this Sunday. In her words “… if you would like botany books, horticulture books, novels, terrible novels, art books etc., feel free to drop by at 9 Armstrong Street, Hermit Park, after 8.00 am this Sunday 17 May 2020. The books will be available for a fortnight. After that who knows!” Christine has informed us that she will have the books on display outside, which will allow up to 10 people at a time to make their selection – do please observe the social distancing rules. If you have a question contact Christine on (07) 4772 2106 (if no answer, please leave a message).