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ST BEES
EARTHWATCH TRIP TO ST BEES ISLAND – JUNE 2004
 
Radio Tracking Koalas
Earthwatch participant
Earthwatch participants

Singapore's national award winning youth joined the Koala Research Centre's St Bees Island koala study in June. The team of ten Chinese, Malaysian and Indian men and women – all students studying nursing, medicine, science, business management or chemical engineering - joined Alistair Melzer and Gail Tucker for ten days of koala catching, radio tracking and vegetation surveys on St Bees Island near Mackay. The team was sponsored by HSBC bank to join the Earthwatch Koala Ecology Program.
The youth team had little or no experience of Australian field conditions and were trained in basic bush craft, field techniques and self reliance. They were educated about the many spiders that inhabit the houses, the interesting kitchen running on 12Volts and living in a non-crowded house. Evening camp fires kept them warm as they suffered a wintry environment, not experienced by some before (since Singapore is 5O above the equator). Alistair and Gail also enjoyed the experience learning about international foods (lots of chili and curries) and other cultures.

Although the visitors were active environmental campaigners in Singapore, they had no experience of personal water conservation and direct recycling - all essential for life on a small island. Despite the initial inexperience, all participants were working as independent field teams within the first week and the koala ecology project gained an almost complete radio tracking data set and caught six koalas to replace defective radio collars and placed collars on three new koalas.
The National Youth Achievement Award Scheme (NYAA) was officially launched on 9 May 1992 by the President of the Republic of Singapore.
The aim of the NYAA Scheme is to encourage young people between the ages of 14 and 25 years to develop personal qualities of self-reliance, perseverance and a sense of responsibility to themselves, society and the nation.
The criteria for an award are those of self-improvement and effort. The participant is judged on personal achievement measured against original circumstances and potential capabilities. This allows for the less able and disadvantaged to participate on an equal opportunity The criteria for an award are those of self-improvement and effort. The participant is judged on personal achievement measured against original circumstances and potential capabilities. This allows for the less able and disadvantaged to participate on an equal opportunity basis.
The NYAA mission is To develop and maximize the potential of young people through selfless community service, challenges of adventure, skills development and physical recreation so that they may be exceptional individuals who can contribute effectively to society and the nation.
It is hoped that NYAA/HSBC participation in the koala study will be a regular event given the success of this field trip.

 
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