Dear readers – while our activities are largely on hold, we will try to keep in touch with you over the coming months with items of interest and perhaps a few suggestions on how you can still enjoy natural surroundings and wildlife in ways that are safe both for you and for the community. Here’s one to start you off!

Autumn2020BIBY_Tile 2Birds in Backyards survey:  Birdlife Australia has a birding at home page which has details of their Autumn Backyard Bird survey, as well as a Birdfinder page to help you identify birds you don’t recognise and birding ideas and activities to help keep the kids happy too. The survey ends this month but you still have plenty of time to start noting the birds you see and get the data back to them.

And while you’re about it, why not send us any observations (with or without photos) that you make of wildlife in your backyard or neighbourhood – birds, butterflies, lizards, possums, bandicoots, flowering or fruiting plants – you name it! It would be good to revive our posts about What’s in your backyard?

And STOP PRESS, please see these ideas from WPSQ in Brisbane!! More than enough to keep everyone happy and occupied!

Looking for a walk or three?  So, the pause button has been pressed on our monthly field trips but we still need to get outdoors in the autumn sunshine, take some exercise and enjoy the life around us. Yes, you can do this while keeping safe and abiding by the regulations. Read this post to find 3 suggested walks that may be close enough to your home for you and/or a friend to enjoy – and feel free to send us your recommendations too.

Have your say on plastics! Community lockdown, self-isolation – call it what you like – doesn’t mean we stop caring about human damage to the environment or taking action to help its wildlife. So I hope many of you will already have sent the Queensland Government your feedback on proposed laws to ban small plastic items (straws, cutlery, stirrers ) – see our email of April 1st. If you haven’t got around to it yet the April 15th deadline for comments fast approaching, so consider this a reminder! Both AMCS and WPSQ have prepared concise information and helpful ways to send in your comments – click on either of the above and go for it!

safe_imageReef Health update – April 2020. In David Wachenfeld’s most recent report on the health of the Reef he covers the bleaching events caused by the summer’s high temperature, examining  their severity and variability and the extent to which reefs are recovering (or not). With the critical summer period now over these reports will now be issued once a month, rather than weekly. David’s presentation of the science, the issues at stake and the work that is being done is clear, concise and easy to follow. I cannot recommend these reports highly enough for anyone wanting to keep abreast of how our reef is faring. And that’s all of us, right?

Easter is coming but Bilbies face a bleak future! This heartfelt message was received from Kevin Bradley of the Save the Bilby Fund:  “As an immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic we have lost all income from the annual iconic Charleville Bilby Experience . . . which has had to be closed under the federal Government’s COVID-19 response. This will mean the loss of approximately $115,000 that our bilby-lovers generate in admission, purchases and donations that will simply not eventuate in 2020. As we already live hand to mouth, this is a massive blow. We are on our bare bones.”  If you are able to help even in a small way please visit the Save the Bilby Fund.

Ten Little Figs CoverTen Little Figs:  Do you have young children in your family or social circle? This book from a new children’s author, Rhian Williams, with illustrations by Nathaniel Eckstrom,  comes highly recommended. Stimulating children’s natural curiosity and appealing to their love of colour, detail and rhyme, Ten Little Figs will also introduce them to the Australian wildlife they can see around them. A child counts down the deliciously sweet figs on the native sandpaper fig tree in his backyard, while each one is snatched away by different Australian animals – flying fox, finches, green ants and more – until just one is left. Perfect for ages between about 3 and 6 years, it is published by Walker Books for $24.99. While everyone’s favourite bookshop, Mary Who?,  has had to close its doors to the public, staff are still taking and processing orders daily and will be happy to supply what you need to keep you or your kids sane. Ask them about delivery arrangements too .

NQCC photo

Thank-you, Tarquin! NQCC photo

Farewell and good fortune, Tarquin! Our Conservation Council’s campaign director, Tarquin Moon, is leaving the north to give closer support to her family in Brisbane. For the last 2 years Tarquin has been a very steady hand at NQCC dealing with complex and sometimes divisive issues professionally and courteously.  Her  great personal warmth and creativity enabled her to reach out to the community throughout the region. At WQ Townsville we welcomed her regular contact and willingness to share and seek advice and information and to work together on issues. Her work on preserving the integrity of our National Parks has been a stand-out, but there was much more and she will be much missed.

Last, but by no means least, we have a new treasurer!  After taking advice from our Brisbane office and the Office of Fair Trading, we held our AGM on 29th March, with the basic quorum of 6 members (plus 6 proxies) in a safe outdoor environment where we could seat ourselves widely apart. (This of course preceded the regulations limiting outside gatherings to two people). The business of the meeting, including the presentation of the president’s and treasurer’s reports and the election of officers for the coming year, proceeded smoothly and we are particularly happy to welcome our member Carole Lonergan onto the committee as our new treasurer. Last year’s office-bearers Denise (President),  Liz (Vice-President) and Beth (Secretary) were all re-elected unopposed.  The President’s Report is posted here.

Meanwhile, and I don’t think this can be said too often, please stay strong, safe and healthy – and stay in touch. We’ll see you on the other side of all this.


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