BRANCH UPDATE JUNE 2016

WHAT’S COMING UP?

ELECTION FORUM TUESDAY 14 JUNE 6-8pm at the Townsville Yacht Club, 1 Plume Street (off Palmer St). To help with seating arrangements, you can RSVP herePlease tell your friends, family, work colleagues. All candidates need to know just how many people do care about the Reef, about climate change, about pollution and polluters, about the loss of wildlife and ecosystems. Be there – if you can!

MISSION BEACH WEEKEND + KENNEDY BAY WALK JUNE 18-19th. Our June field trip is coming up fast, let’s hope the weather stays fine and beautiful – but rain at Mission is not unusual at any time of year, especially overnight or early mornings, so throw a raincoat in your pack, just in case. So far it seems we have 12 people from Townsville planning to make the trip and we hope to be joined by Suzy Smith, and maybe some other members of the Cassowary Coast Branch. Read full details here please!

MUNDY CREEK LANDCARE SATURDAY JULY 2nd 4-6pm. If the longest election campaign in over 60 years has left you jaded or frustrated, why not revive your spirits with some positive, practical and physical action in congenial company? Read more here.

MAGNETIC ISLAND TRIP SUNDAY JULY 24th. Our plans are still fluid, but following information from a local resident our intention is to visit an area behind Horseshoe Bay where large numbers of  butterflies (chiefly Blue Tigers, Tirumala hamata) gather to over-winter. We can follow this with a walk alongside the Horseshoe Bay lagoon and across its boardwalk to see what waterbirds are hanging out there in the dry. Or the more energetic may like to do the walk over the hill to Balding Bay. More details next month but this will be a full day trip, taking the 8.45am ferry (to be confirmed), returning during the afternoon.

WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW ?

AUSTRALIAN BIRD FEEDING/WATERING STUDY. Do you have bird-baths in your garden? Do you actually provide food for wild birds? A team from Griffith and Deakin Universities would love you to register to take part in their study of bird-feeding and watering in people’s gardens. Click here for more information and how to register.

DEFENDERS IN ACTION. The lawyers from the Environmental Defenders Office are involved in several actions in behalf of clients who are challenging decisions and actions relating to the Adani Carmichael and Alpha coal mines. You can read more and offer your support here.

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING?

EcoFiesta 2016_1WQ AT ECOFIESTA – sunny skies, smiling faces, and a focus on sustainable living, protecting our environment and wildlife, that was EcoFiesta 2016. We had a good position with plenty of shade and a display featuring flying-foxes, mahogany gliders and our “What’s in Your Backyard?” camera surveys, as well as leaflets on tree-clearing, platypus watch and much else. Thanks to Julia, Sandra, Denise, Mike, Beth, Jane and Alison who all chipped in to help at different times.

MAY BEACH CLEAN-UPBrownie points to those who turned up to our clean-up last month, it was a great effort and though we can’t say we left the area pristine, it was much cleaner when we left than when we arrived. Read about it here.

COWS ON THE BEACH? Volunteers at a different clean-up of a different beach (a couple of weeks before our own efforts further south) found cow dung all along the beach, and a dead cow lying just above high water mark. The cows had clearly strayed from a recently-stocked property which extends from Lorna to Ollera Creeks. It is quite unacceptable to have livestock straying onto a public beach, trampling vegetation and nesting sites for birds and turtles, and indicates the absence or inadequacy of fencing along at least some of the boundaries. We have reported this to the city council and hope to hear when it has been addressed.

… AND Sagittaria ON MAGNETIC! An island resident inadvertently introduced this invasive weed (Sagittaria platyphylla) into his garden pond after buying it from an aquarium supplier in Cairns. The resident has removed and composted the plants, but it is a warning for people to be careful about what they buy and to continue to watch out for this weed in local waterways. See our previous post for more info and photos.

GOOD NEWS……

YES! THIS IS WHAT NATIONAL PARKS ARE FOR!  We second the National Parks Association of Queensland in commending recent government legislation which reinstated the conservation of nature as the primary purpose of National Parks and the primary goal of parks management. This places nature conservation clearly over and above other purposes or uses, whether recreational, commercial or social. Read more here.

CASH FOR CONTAINERS – getting closer for Queensland? NSW has taken a step closer to introducing a container deposit scheme, now set to begin in July 1917. The NSW model is similar to that being strongly advocated by Wildlife Queensland for introduction here. It has the support of Environment Minister Steven Miles as well as the great majority of Queenslanders, so bipartisan support for a Queensland scheme is the aim. Read more here. WQ is also campaigning to reduce/ban plastic bags and helium balloons.

…… AND SAD NEWS

LOSING THE BEST. In the space of two weeks we have heard of the loss of three of the truly good guys. First, and very tragically, 43 year old Martin Cunningham, a man in the prime of life who loved the reef and rivers that had nurtured him and was passionate in their defence. A separate tribute is posted here.

Tragically again came news of the death in a car accident of JCU’s Professor Rick Speare, aged 68, an extraordinarily versatile scientist whose fields embraced veterinary, human and tropical medicine. Among many outstanding achievements in his life and career, Rick played a leading role in identifying the cause of global frog declines and extinctions. Some of our members also recall with gratitude his skill and kindness in the treatment of injured wildlife, at a time when he was the “go to” man in town for this. At the riper age of 86, we have also lost the great Japanese-Australian ornithologist, Professor Jiro Kikkawa, a gracious man, who was a friend and colleague of WQ’s early luminaries Judith Wright, John Busst and Len Webb, and who himself played an important role in the formative campaigns of our Society.

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