Sonoma State Forest Field Trip ~ January 2007 - Steph Januchowski
In January I made a trip to Sonoma State Forest for a few days to spend time getting to know the property better and take some time to walk and ground truth the area. It was a relaxed trip with a few koala sightings, yet I have to admit I was not looking very hard I was more concentrated on hiking across the 21,000 acres in three days! Although my time spent koala sighting was limited, the first moment I drove onto the property I spotted this koala sitting in an ironbark tree…relaxing and enjoying the afternoon.
The next two days I spent walking around the property. I was able to see the variety of plant species that are encompassing the landscape and was able to see some of the natural beauty which occurs at Sonoma State Forest. I took a few photos of landscape to show everyone just how beautiful it is. No wonder koalas like to live there, I would too if I were them.  
This rock, though difficult to see from the modified photo, is called T.V. Rock as it sits high above the rest of the landscape at approximately 640 meters and it has a flat front making it look like a perfect T.V. screen for video watching. I have inserted an additional photo of T.V. Rock it is a closer view.
During the afternoon of the second day, I was fortunate enough to see another koala. I was hiking in an area which had been burned by bush fire less than one year ago. I was looking around the landscape (secretly hoping to spot a koala) writing down the species of trees to the best of my ability…when I saw this one sleeping in a tree. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me and was compelled to run one kilometre back to my truck, dig out the camera and run back to the spot (the whole time thinking there is no way I am going to find the koala again). I retrieved the camera and dashed back to the spot. I was able to get myself back to the relative location and after a few minutes of walking and pacing in circles, I spotted the koala again. Yet after all this commotion the animal decided it was not happy to have a photo taken…and started to make its way up the tree, hence the big ears and climbing position in the photo below.

Although startled, the koala eventually climbed on a high limb and curled up for a late afternoon rest. I decided it was time to make my way and let the koala enjoy the afternoon siesta.
By the end of the 12 hours I spent in the bush that day I was ready for a siesta! But after the long day of trekking it was very rewarding to see the beautiful sunset over the hillside and allowed me to take a small break and capture the beautiful colours of the Australian sky. I hope you enjoy them as well. 
Steph Januchowski

Local Koala Expedition

  David, John, Kim, Jo, Shirley

A fter a cancellation on 3 February, a group of volunteers and friends had a great day out looking for koalas in the Fitzroy River area on Saturday, 24 February.  Our hosts were David and Robyn Black, long-time residents of the area and David has the reputation as a koala spotter.
Gail & Ben

We had a 6.00am start with the distribution of EPA koala information and a list of koala trees.  The expedition was aimed as a social outing and we fanned out and covered several areas.  In between the walking, we stopped for morning tea and lunch under the shade.

It was a great day, unfortunately we did not sight a koala but David has promised to find us a koala.  I am sure all the participants enjoyed the day in the bush.

My thanks to Jo Lawrence, a volunteer, who made the journey from Biloela.  Gail and Paul Tucker's son, Benjamin, (just over one), was a very interested spectator from his backpack carriage carried by mum.  Benjamin was fascinated by people sitting around on the ground, eating interesting food and drinking from vacuum flasks and other goings on.

Thanks to all the participants and particularly, to David and Robyn as our hosts for taking the time in their busy lives.

I  hope volunteers will take advantage of being part of our, hopefully, regular expeditions and I would welcome any suggestions for the future outings – perhaps every two or three months.

Next Outing: Sunday, 6 May.

Rockhampton Botanic Gardens to meet our five new koalas including 3 adult males.  I will need your support for this event as we will be inviting the public to come along.  We expect to involve Friends of the Gardens, Zoo Volunteers, Society for Growing Australian Plants and perhaps other environment groups.

KIM BEDWELL Refines Eucalypt fodder

Kim Bedwell and Caramello  one of the long time koalas at the Botanic Gardens.

Photograph (taken by Tamara Kemp) is supplied courtesy of The Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton

Kim Bedwell's studies of eucalypt trees will bring her into close contact with some of the cute and cuddly creatures Rockhampton Zoo.  The koalas at the zoo will be the first to taste new eucalypt plantations grown in conditions different from those currently used to feed them.

Ms Bedwell said she was trying to find a method that would efficiently grow large quantities of shoots. "Koalas only eat the tips of shoots, so if it is possible to grow large quantities of shoots and increase the shelf life of harvested fodder, we will be able to maintain healthy, captive colonies of koalas.  I will be experimenting with two different eucalypt growths. One will be at Central Queensland University, where eucalypts will be grown densely to try to produce as much shoot tip as possible.  The other will be on council land, using a different horticulture method than used in current plantations, and using recycled water from the Fitzroy River water treatment plant. This plantation will also be looking at several eucalypt species."

Ms Bedwell chose to study eucalypts and koalas for her CQU thesis because they were both uniquely Australian.  She will be feeding the koalas different fodder to identify which shoots the koalas prefer, and will test the nutritional value of that fodder.

"If I can develop a method to make growing these tips faster and more efficiently, and the koalas accept these tips as fodder, it will make looking after the koalas a lot easier."

This interview with Kim was conducted by Caryn Metcalfe and appeared in The Weekend Bulletin on Saturday, 3 March 2007 and we have published it courtesy of The Morning Bulletin.

Volunteer Needs for Field Sampling in 2007

I would like to take this opportunity to present the sampling schedule I have developed for my field sampling during 2007, continuing into 2008. I have delivered an updated excel spreadsheet to Nick, for him to update on the website. Table 6 & Table 9

On the spreadsheet are highlighted dates which indicate those dates where I would be in greatest need of volunteers. The dates are related to the months where koala observations will be conducted. I have decided to divide the day time observations and nocturnal observations into two different sampling patterns, as it does not seem likely that both can be achieved in the same day.

Therefore, I have pasted the schedule below.  Dates and important sampling times have been indicated. I have divided some of the days in half in relation to the types of data I have to collect. Some of the measures are best collected in the morning, while others are better collected in mid-day - thus making it a bit more interesting each day and allowing me to reduce some of the repetition.

There are additional tasks which need to be completed during the year. To reduce the table size; I included only those items which are critical to project completion. The additional items are likely to be completed by myself and I do not require volunteer assistance.

Report from recent Steering Committee Meetings Top

29 January, 2007

Nine members were present and one apology

Dawn reported: Volunteer small equipment grant, moved forward to second round and will be considered for future funding. Members decided that the application would stay submitted for consideration during the next round.

Shirley: presented a CQ Koala Volunteer protocol for funding expeditions related to koala research involving CQKV - accepted by members.

Re: Website:  Nick reported that hits from site 1536 (countries such as US, China, UK, and Germany, etc.)

Nick: noted the need for each member to provide a profile, for him to update members' profiles on the website and the need to update generic numbers under photo albums on the website. Suggested that everyone update with proper names for the photos. Action will be taken by Gail and Alistair to update these details.

The Children’s page will be updated with fact sheets for koala diet, koala tips. Gail and Nick will update this information. 

Re: Projects:

Alistair: Kim’s project may need volunteers' assistance, largely in Rockhampton. Assistance will be related to recording data and movement of vegetation during the duration of the study. Opportunities to do field work will be detailed further, as the project advances. 

'Tooth Wear Project' - Data analysis is done, looking at difference in fibre content. The paper is being drafted and almost finished for resubmission. Some additional data analysis will be done and will be presented to the volunteers before the final paper is submitted to the journal.

St Bees trips are going ahead as usual in February, May, July and October. Constraints related to costs, logistics, making difficulties in project, updates will be presented as things move forward. Support from Earthwatch will be applied for within the next year and will be redesigned by Alistair.

Shirley: picnic lunch and possibility for koala spotting on Rookwood Property near Gogango on 3 February, 2007.

Shirley: proposed a meeting for volunteers at the zoo to support the new koalas. Shirley will talk to Simon at the Rockhampton Zoo about establishing such an event.

Steph: presented project details and requested to know the availability of Volunteers to work on the project. Will establish details of the study area, accommodation and amenities in the nearby towns for posting on the website. Additionally, a calendar of events will be posted on-line and a request for volunteers to present their availability at their earliest convenience. Asked for volunteers to consider working on vegetation and koala measurements and observations during the 18 month field season starting sometime in March. 

Gail: is back from maternity leave and has finished a recent paper which was submitted to Alistair and Bill. She will continue writing and is finished her field work.

Alistair: forthcoming field trip to Thompson River, proposal will be submitted shortly, date is unknown at this point, but will be during the dry season either this year or next year.

Fundraising: Alistair will look into the possibilities of running a koala raffle and for appropriate prizes.

Dawn: proposed to increase items for sale at stalls at venues such as arts in the park and the multicultural fair. Alistair agreed. Dawn will look into purchasing and discuss with Denise.

Alistair is wearing an XL size, Gail is wearing an M size Kev has on an L size.


Cost is $50 plus P & P of $5 anywhere in Australia. (I hear they are $70 in other places).
An Ugly is a Canterbury Clothing Co Quality Garment made from the remnants of football jerseys.  They are individual with our Logo.  We will have our selling outlets but I would like members to work towards selling two Uglies each.  Four members have already reached this target.  I would be pleased to hear from members who might have suggestions of other possible outlets.

More from the Treasurer's Desk

Annual Statement

This was a good result considering the Volunteers contributed $5 000 towards the Scholarship for our PhD candidate, Steph Januchowski.

Every dollar that is raised is important and our most successful fundraisers included the sale of aluminium cans, Koala Chocs, and Pocket Diaries as well as our usual attendance at Multicultural Fair and Arts in the Park.  Our Koala Chocs fundraiser will continue to provide funds as Supa IGA, Glenmore, sell the chocolates year round and promise to extend into IGA Stockland (Rockhampton's largest shopping centre) and IGA Sarina.  We are very grateful to Bruce McFarlane, Manager, Farm Street IGA for his support.  We have a prominent display area in the store and no commission is deducted. 
Your support of IGA would be appreciated.
I am grateful to volunteers and friends for their continued support.  In 2007, we are committed to $5000 for the PhD scholarship as well as just over $4 000 for Alistair Melzer's Toothwear research.  The volunteers have allocated an anonymous donation of $1 000 towards this research.  Volunteers will be working hard to raise funds and Koala Chocs will again be held.  Volunteers and friends away from Rockhampton are invited to take part.  Koala Chocs are macadamia nuts covered with Cadbury's chocolate in an attractive gift box, priced at $6.00 and a carton containing 27 boxes can be delivered to any address at no extra cost.

Shirley Hopkins Treasurer

New additions to the Rockhampton Zoo

Two koalas in a real tree in the new enclosure

In December 2006, 5 koalas were brought over from Magnetic Island for a new koala enclosure and a potential breeding program:  1 female named Ella and her male joey, Klingon and 3 adult males Joe, Billy and Bruiser.  All koalas have settled in excellently and have acclimatised well to their new environment and room mates. 
Joe was placed in an enclosure with Ella and 2 existing females Caramello and Squirt with the intention of breeding and signs are indicating that all 3 females are pregnant.
So if you haven't been to the zoo in a while, come and see the cute and cuddly koalas and in the near future you will be able to get photos with Klingon!
Kim Bedwell

The Computer's Swallowed Grandma

The computer swallowed Grandma.

Yes, honestly, it's true. She pressed 'Control' and 'Enter'

And disappeared from view

It devoured her completely,

The thought just makes me squirm.

She must have caught a virus

Or been eaten by a worm.

I've searched through the recycle bin

And files of every kind;

I've even used the Internet,

But nothing did I find.

In desperation, I asked Jeeves

My searches to refine.

The reply from him was negative,

Not a thing was found online.

So, if inside your 'Inbox'

My Grandma you should see,

Please 'Copy, Scan' and 'Paste' her

And send her back to me!

Author: Valerie Waite of Derbyshire, England.  Originally published in 'The Daily Mail' in July, 2004.

Next Meeting: 26 March

2007 Membership fees are due now