Concerned about the impact of climate change on local wildlife, Sharon McGrigor & Virginia Seymour, both Landcare & WIRES members, teamed up to commence a three month Wildlife monitoring trial at Rosebank. Sharon is the WIRES koala coordinator & wildlife carer, the Fox Rd Landcare Coordinator and NPWS community representative. Virginia is an Environmental Scientist, WIRES rescuer & Team Leader with GreenCorps. The Rosebank project site was chosen, because it lies in the path of where wildlife may migrate southwards from the Nightcap World Heritage National Park and it also borders the Whian Whian State Conservation Area. We then set about obtaining the Scientific equipment and relevant licences required to undertake the project and found that the equipment was difficult to obtain and expensive to hire. So we asked WIRES NR if they would support the project and went searching for funds.
The application was sent to Northern Rivers Community Foundation in response to last year's “Connecting Community’ grants round. “We were delighted to fund the project which provided the $2000 needed to purchase the kit.” said Megan Edwards, NRCF Executive Officer. “What we enjoyed about this project was that it was an innovative community response to an emerging environmental issue, that can be used for many years to come by various members of the community. Funding this project also helps NRCF let the community know that we want to support environmental projects. May this be first of many to come.” she said.
Fox Road Landcare co-ordinated & provided funds for the testing of the hair samples collected. Newtrain/GreenCorps helped coordinate a Wildlife Team of 10 volunteer 19-20 yr old people, who wanted to learn more about wildlife conservation. WIRES assisted further, by putting the GreenCorps Wildlife Team through a Rescue and Immediate Care training course, specifically taylored for wildlife identification. The project site involved 10 private properties and the landholders, all Fox Rd Landcare members, volunteered their properties and time for the project. Brunswick Valley Bird Watchers & Birds Australia members also offered their assistance in identifying bird species and Jan Olley, NPWS Advisory Committee President assisted the project. Another supporter of the project is the Brunswick Valley Landcare Community Support Officer Georgia Beyer. Georgia says “It’s about understanding the biodiversity that lives around us, because if we understand it we can manage it much better.”
The Community Conservation Toolkit is the first of its kind, and includes a collection of wildlife monitoring equipment that can be used to record & detect wildlife, in particular threatened species. The kit contains hair funnels & wafers (with sticky tape that collects hairs from gliders, possums, native mice and bandicoots trying to get to bait), Elliott traps (for catching small ground dwelling mammals), drift nets and buckets (for little planigales, frogs and reptiles), spotlights and binoculars (for spotting nocturnal animals), megaphone, MP3, & call playback equipment (to locate sugar, squirrell and yellow bellied gliders, owls and koalas who sometimes call back to the played sound), CD's of frog/bird/animal calls (for call playback and for identification), Site Assessment Forms, reference and identification books, a Global Positioning System (for recording the site location accurately), gloves, carry tubs & the Threatened Biodiversity Survey & Assessment Guidelines Manual (prepared by NPWS).
Sharon & Virginia are concerned about the effects of climate change on threatened species, and are wondering if it is already making its impact felt. “Climate change models have predicted that wildlife may migrate to more elevated areas and towards the south of the continent, seeking a cooler environment,” says Virginia. “This will mean that local wildlife may move from the protected areas of National Parks onto private lands which lie on these migrational paths.”
“Taking this into consideration, scientific data is required in order to monitor the effects of climate change and the migration of fauna. You can’t monitor such an event without first knowing what wildlife is already present”, Sharon said. “Monitoring is seen as the first step. Obtaining the Community Conservation Toolkit will make it far more accessible to the broader community and we are now able to encourage landcarers, environmental community groups, schools, councils and individual landowners, to undertake similar monitoring events, by using the kit under scientific licence.”
“It has been an amazing effort to get this far, however without the help of all the particpating groups, this project would simply have not happened, and we’d like to thank them for that support.” said Sharon. this takes Landcare to another level of commitment in the preservation of our endangered and threatened wildlife. Volunteer Landcarers will now be able to help assess wildlife numbers, assist with the monitoring of changes to migration, and help plan for their rescue and immediate care in the event of natural disasters related to climate change.”
During the monitoring period we found several Rare & Endangered plant species & several sites not previously known to be home to the Rare & Endangered Tusked, Fleay's & Pouched Frogs-Quite exciting finds
For enquiries about the kit please contact WIRES NR 66281898.
Contact person Sharon McGrigor