Native by nature

Published 05 Dec 2018 

Michael Tichbon
Michael Tichbon
Photo: Jon Gellweiler / West Pix
Philanthropist Michael Tichbon has a passion for native species, and his generous donations have made Bush Heritage’s first ever purpose-built field station, on Red Moort Reserve in Western Australia, a reality.

“I don’t feel that we – non-Aboriginal Australians – have done a very good job of looking after the plants and animals in this part of the world,” says Michael. He is referring to a part of Noongar Country, between the Fitzgerald River and Stirling Range national parks in south-west Western Australia, home to hundreds of plant and animal species found nowhere else. This region has been heavily cleared in recent decades, putting the future existence of many species there at risk. “Given that I’m in a position to be able to make a difference here, I feel it’s my responsibility to do so,” says Michael. “That’s why I support activities like the construction of this field station.”

The Michael Tichbon Field Station
The Michael Tichbon Field Station
Photo: Will Marwic
Michael, who is a long-term Bush Heritage supporter, first became involved in our Fitz-Stirling work in 2013. Three years later, he visited the region looking for a project to support in memory of his late brother and fellow conservationist, Neville Tichbon. At the time, Bush Heritage had just purchased two new reserves in the region, and it was becoming increasingly clear that we needed an operational and research base there. It was a perfect match.

Due to be completed in late 2018, the Michael Tichbon Field Station will feature sleeping quarters, laboratories and meeting spaces so that researchers can spend extended periods of time in the field, as well as educational displays, an off-grid solar system, and a rainwater collection and reticulation system. Ultimately, it will allow for more in-depth research and better conservation outcomes for the 10,000 hectares under our care in the Fitz-Stirling region.