28 September 2023
On 9 September, more than 40 people joined Wildlife Queensland in Currimundi on the beautiful Sunshine Coast to attend the Society’s Annual General Meeting and the 60th birthday celebrations for the Sunshine Coast & Hinterland Inc. Branch.
The event commenced with Aunty Bridgette Chilli, Traditional Owner Murulla Kabi Kabi First People and Country Jhdungah Sunshine Coast, welcoming us to Country with her beautiful, haunting voice, accompanied by clapsticks. This traditional First Nations welcome set a poignant tone for the day’s proceedings.
The guest speaker, John Birbeck, shared insights on “Backyards for Biodiversity”. Drawing from his wealth of experience in environmental planning matters on the Sunshine Coast, John provided an illuminating overview of the region’s ecological challenges and opportunities.
As part of the 60th birthday celebrations of the Sunshine Coast & Hinterland Inc. Branch, Anne Wensley and Jill Chamberlain delved into the branch’s history and accomplishments before Jill cut a stunning celebratory cake.
Wildlife Queensland also celebrated the outstanding efforts of the Upper Dawson Branch this year. The branch was awarded the Community Engagement Award for the Dawson Valley Butterfly Weekend, and one of its members, Viola Temple-Watts, was presented with the Margaret Thorsborne Award.
Branches continue to make a difference
The annual reports of our branches revealed the diversity of events and actions Wildlife Queensland participates in throughout the state and the dedication of our many staff and volunteers.
“The branch reports are a highlight of the AGM and 2023 was no exception,” said Wildlife Queensland’s Policies and Campaigns Manager Des Boyland.
“Branches are to be applauded for encouraging the broader community to respect and value our wildlife and its habitats.”
Here are some of their remarkable achievements over the past year:
The Bayside Branch hosted informative monthly speakers on topics including sustainable population and artificial reefs. They’ve recycled over 60,000 containers with the container deposit scheme, raising $600 for the Wildlife Land Fund and other groups. They also continue to fight against harmful development projects, such as Toondah Harbour and the Heinemann Road sports complex.
The Brisbane Branch has been educating the public about marine parks and wildlife. They organised a Batty Boat Cruise and featured biologist Tim Low’s talk on “The New Nature”. Moreover, they put forward submissions on various projects to the Queensland Environment Minister. Currently, they are looking for members to join their executive committee to support future initiatives.
The Capricorn Branch has focused on habitat preservation and collaboration with regenerative graziers. They constructed 15 nest boxes for various species and conducted surveys of semi-evergreen vine thickets on regenerative properties. Efforts to protect marine turtles, raise hatchling awareness, and reduce light pollution along the Capricorn Coast shoreline have also been priorities. Their support for the Yeppoon Inlet Association’s efforts promises stronger environmental management in a historic boat harbour.
The Cassowary Coast—Hinchinbrook Branch has also been active in wildlife-friendly fencing, educational programs, and conservation activities such as protecting Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroos, restoration projects like the Biodiversity Bright Spots initiative, and the National Mahogany Glider Recovery Team. Judy Murphy’s retirement from the Cassowary Coast Regional Council after 25 years of service coincided with the branch’s representation on the Natural Asset Management Advisory Committee. They’ve developed plant lists for the food trees of endangered species like the cassowary and mahogany glider.
The Fraser Coast Branch welcomed numerous new members and organised monthly nature walks and educational programs, including their seasonal Backyard Bioblitz. Their 60th Anniversary Walk event attracted 100 attendees. They’ve made numerous representations and submissions to all three levels of government with an increasing focus on opposing the loss of essential habitat from development. They’ve also engaged in legal action to challenge a hotel development near turtle, shorebird and squirrel glider habitats.
The Gold Coast & Hinterland Branch joined the Fire Ant Prevention Coalition, lobbied for national park protection, and worked tirelessly to save vulnerable koalas. The branch has also engaged in community forums, promoted sustainable energy policies, and advocated for green spaces. They’ve arranged for the local press to feature the efforts of Hope, a Coomera primary school student, who raises funds for koalas by selling orange juice.
The Scenic Rim Branch has completed tree-planting and protective fence projects funded by the Landcare Bushfire Recovery Grant program. They organised a Wildlife Expo, celebrating 60 years of Wildlife Queensland activities, and raised concerns about raptor populations and pesticide use on roadways. The branch has also advocated preserving wildlife corridors like Todd Lane to protect biodiversity and cultural heritage.
The Sunshine Coast & Hinterland Inc. Branch launched various initiatives, including a podcast, book sales, and a 60th-anniversary bookmark. The branch also tackled important environmental issues, such as the Bribie Island Breakthrough and the Caloundra Transport Corridor Upgrade. They joined the Protect Our Regional Inter-Urban Break Alliance and advocated for conservation across multiple fronts, from turtle nesting to waste management. Faunawatch continued its biodiversity surveys.
The Townsville Branch has reduced its carbon footprint by organising monthly walks. They actively engaged with the Invasive Species Council to combat the yellow crazy ant infestation and conducted field trips and awareness campaigns. Collaboration with Skilling Queenslanders for Work trainees and a JCU PhD student enhanced their mahogany glider conservation efforts.
The Upper Dawson Branch played a pivotal role in opposing environmentally damaging projects, leading to the rejection of SANTOS’s plan to discharge Coal Seam Gas Water into the Dawson River. They’ve also objected to the Towrie Gas and CTSCo CO2 injection projects. Their Butterfly Weekend recorded 24 species, and they plan to print a “Birds of the Dawson” book.
In conclusion, the network of branches belonging to Wildlife Queensland has worked hard this past year to preserve our state’s natural beauty and biodiversity. Wildlife Queensland thanks our branches and entire membership for their continued and dedicated commitment to nature conservation.
Become a member of Wildlife Queensland, one of the state’s oldest and most successful conservation groups, and get involved with your local branch.