Women working hard for conservation

Dr Pippa Kern
Published 11 Feb 2020 
about  Edgbaston Reserve  
Edgbaston survey team! <br/>From left: Gabbi, Tash, Bek, Hollie and Pippa. Photo: P. Kern Edgbaston survey team!
From left: Gabbi, Tash, Bek, Hollie and Pippa. Photo: P. Kern
Some of the critters we caught - Leopard ctenotus<br/>Photo: P. Kern Some of the critters we caught - Leopard ctenotus
Photo: P. Kern
Some of the critters we caught - Striped-face dunnart<br/>Photo: P. Kern Some of the critters we caught - Striped-face dunnart
Photo: P. Kern
Flooded clay pans after rain!<br/>Photo: H. Gooden Flooded clay pans after rain!
Photo: H. Gooden
Pulling the cruiser out of the mud<br/>Photo: P. Kern Pulling the cruiser out of the mud
Photo: P. Kern
Relaxing after a big week.<br/>From left: Maddi, Gabbi, Pippa, Bek, Tash and Hollie Relaxing after a big week.
From left: Maddi, Gabbi, Pippa, Bek, Tash and Hollie

Towards the end of 2019 at Edgbaston Reserve we were gearing up to run our annual spring-time surveys. This involves trapping and surveying across the reserve to see what critters (birds, mammals, reptiles) are present in different habitats, and how this is changing over time.

We had a great crew of people come to help including Hollie Gooden (Edgbaston/Pullen-Pullen Reserve Manager), Tash Richards (Carnarvon Field Officer), Rebecca Diete (Carnarvon Ecologist), Gabrielle Lebbink (volunteer, PhD candidate and plant extraordinaire) and myself, Pippa Kern (Edgbaston Ecologist). At the same time we had an honours student (Maddison Stuart) working tirelessly on her research to better understand the habitat of our favourite fish, the Red-finned Blue-eye and Edgbaston Goby.

One afternoon, following a few heavy days of setting up traps in temperatures in the high 30s, crack-of-dawn starts and late nights spotlighting I was relaxing in the shed while Maddi was out doing her research, Bek was photographing mud adders and Tash was working to repair our chainsaws. I found myself reflecting on what a fabulous experience it is to work with such dedicated and skilled people, and that Bush Heritage provides a workplace where women are urged to succeed in many varying roles, including those in that locals often tell me are 'men’s jobs'.

Of course, we're also super lucky to work with, learn from, teach and share skills with passionate and experienced men who hold similar roles across our organisation. In fact, the next week when we had 40mls of rain fall on our last afternoon of trapping we were happy to have the help of an additional pair of hands from Alex Kutt (Senior Ecologist), to try to dig a ute out of the mud, finish the survey and pack up the traps.

In the end, I jumped on the tractor to pull the cruiser out, and although damp and a bit muddy, everyone ended the survey in high spirits, feeling lucky to see rain in the outback and having had a successful field trip working with a fun, respectful and seriously skilled group of colleagues.

Some of the critters we caught - Leopard ctenotus<br/>Photo: P. Kern Some of the critters we caught - Leopard ctenotus
Photo: P. Kern
Some of the critters we caught - Striped-face dunnart<br/>Photo: P. Kern Some of the critters we caught - Striped-face dunnart
Photo: P. Kern
Flooded clay pans after rain!<br/>Photo: H. Gooden Flooded clay pans after rain!
Photo: H. Gooden
Pulling the cruiser out of the mud<br/>Photo: P. Kern Pulling the cruiser out of the mud
Photo: P. Kern
Relaxing after a big week.<br/>From left: Maddi, Gabbi, Pippa, Bek, Tash and Hollie Relaxing after a big week.
From left: Maddi, Gabbi, Pippa, Bek, Tash and Hollie