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Bushtracks Summer 2018

Published 11 Dec 2018

A few years ago, I embarked on a scientific expedition through Bush Heritage’s Ethabuka Reserve, which is located on the edge of the Simpson Desert, in far western Queensland.

We were prepared for dry conditions and had packed ten days’ worth of water, but as it happened, our visit to Ethabuka coincided with a rare downpour – the kind of rain that transforms desert landscapes. Suddenly, this place that we had perceived to be relatively empty was bursting with life.

Millions of tiny footprints – left by dunnarts, planigales, hopping mice and other small creatures – covered the sand everywhere we looked. In some places, their tracks joined together to form miniature super highways, presumably leading to the cosiest homes and juiciest sources of grass seed.

Overhead, raptors circled, attracted by the abundance of prey. That one disturbance – a single rainstorm – had set off a series of reactions that were cascading through the food chain right before our eyes. Understanding how different species interact with one another and the environment around them is a never-ending journey, and one that is vital to our conservation management planning.

In this edition of bushtracks we explore the different ways in which climatic changes are likely to play out on our western Queensland reserves and how we can reflect that in our management practices.

We also hear about a group of volunteers helping us and our partners to monitor Platypus numbers in the upper Murrumbidgee River. The joy they express as they describe this work reminds me that we are all connected by our shared passion for the bush and our dedication to seeing healthy country, protected forever.

Over the past 27 years, this same passion and dedication has seen Bush Heritage grow from strength-to-strength through two evolving eras of leadership at the Chief Executive level. In January we welcome our incoming Chief Executive Heather Campbell, who joins us with a wealth of diversified experience in conservation, sustainability and land care, as well an infectious enthusiasm for her new role.

Gerard O’Neill departs Bush Heritage after seven years of outstanding service to conservation in Australia and to Bush Heritage.

He has exemplified the passion and dedication of our organization and its committed employees to restoring the bush to good health. Along the way, he has strengthened our operational and financial foundations, engaged with new partners in extending our work across more than 8 million hectares and been unflagging in pursuing cooperation with local and international organisations sharing our mission of protecting the magnificent inheritance that is the Australian bush.

While we shall miss his story telling and quiet dedication to effective outcomes, he leaves Bush Heritage a legacy of which we are all very proud.

Chris Grubb,

More from Bushtracks Summer 2018

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Darwin’s legacy

Fifteen years ago, two men sat on a log and talked long into the night. Their conversation would shape the future of the land upon which they rested.

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BUSHTRACKS 11/12/2018

Desert dwellers

There’s a common misconception that deserts are bleak places, devoid of life, but in truth the arid Outback is home to a huge diversity of plants and animals.

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My Happy Place (Jane Blackwood)

I have lots of favourite spots on Cravens Peak and they’re all places that make me feel strong and happy, and connected to the country that I live on. One of those places is S-Bend Gorge; I never fail to feel completely embraced when I’m at S-Bend.

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BUSHTRACKS 11/12/2018

Outback extremes

A more sophisticated understanding of how climate change will impact Cravens Peak and Ethabuka reserves is focusing our conservation efforts when and where they will do the greatest good.

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BUSHTRACKS 11/12/2018

Platypus patrol

A group of dedicated volunteers is helping to shed light on Platypus populations in the upper Murrumbidgee River.

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