Mentor: Noela Sievers


October 2005 Earthwatch Trip to St Bees


Although I had been to St Bees twice previously it was my first Earthwatch trip and I found it a wonderful experience.  There were 10 international volunteers whose excitement and enthusiasm were quite infectious – every koala sighted created a great flurry of photography particularly when they were mothers with back young involved. With two people on kitchen/cleaning duty each day and everyone being considerate towards their fellow 'campers' it was a truly excellent trip.


Even though it was still Spring, the weather was very hot and humid with storms threatening on a couple of days although there was little rain with the exception of one overnight storm.  The cool ocean (when the tide was in) was a welcome respite after a hard day in the field and the ritual 'sunset watch' was also a relaxing wind down for everyone. 


We tracked our collared koalas each day and several nights, with the exception of 'Utopia', (most inappropriately named for those of you with personal experience – an advanced version of Marcus for those of us with prior experience) who managed to avoid being tracked on a daily basis.  Alistair, with some volunteer help, surveyed canopy and ground cover vegetation at three separate locations collecting data to verify the correlation between the two parameters.  Delma’s temperature recording equipment showed some success but was still experiencing software 'glitches' and she was planning to return to the island in the near future to rectify those problems.


It was difficult to try and limit Gail to a more relaxed role on the island and everyone except Gail was worrying about how difficult and tiring it was for her.  We all shared her sadness as she said goodbye to her beloved island for a while and we also laughed as she theorized about baby slings that could be used while climbing steep slopes – although I’m not sure she wasn’t serious about that?


In general, a successful trip with all targets achieved and on a personal level a great experience with good friendships renewed and new ones forged across the globe which I hope will be maintained.

  Report from recent Steering Committee Meeting

7 November

There have been four applications for the PhD candidate Scholarship. Late applications are now being taken from Australian and overseas applicants.

Koala Volunteer trips for future

Day Trips
Mt Archer
Extended could include Burnett Shire.

Break-up – at 12 noon on Sunday, 11 December in the Kershaw Gardens. Dawn has booked the rotunda opposite the Knight Street car park. Tables and chairs are in the rotunda but you may wish to bring a comfortable chair. A BBQ is available but you may have to bring some wood.
Hoping to see everyone there.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and may all our efforts help our koala friends have a great new year.


Mentor Report from Gail


We need volunteers to register their interest to be a mentors on the trips. We need one mentor per trip and the mentor needs to be a member of the volunteer group and be fit and physically capable of participating in the field program.  Mentors with field experience in koala research would be preferred, however there is on the job training for those without prior experience.


Trips dates are


11 - 23rd May 2006

13 - 25th July 2006

05 - 17th October 2006

01 - 13th February 2007

Mentors need to get themselves to Mackay on the day before the trip.  Field trip expenses once in Mackay (including to and from the island) are covered by the Earthwatch budget. To register an interest in being a filed mentor or to get more information, contact:

Gail (or 4930 9625) or Alistair


Back:  Bernard (USA), Paul (USA), Sean (Brisbane), Siddharth (India),

Gail and Alistair (Koala Research Centre), YinYin (China), Mériem (France),

Donna (USA), Robin (China/USA)

Front:  Chuck (USA), Pornchai (Thailand), Noela (our Mentor from Townsville),

Sarah (UK) and Netta (Finland)


Report from Carmen


There was an interesting article in the latest Nature of Australia, which caught my attention.  Research was done on Rock Wallabies in Wollemi National Park using only D.N.A. from collected pellets.  Researchers were able to establish the number of wallabies by identifying individual animals, their health and sex thereby the colony size, relationship within colonies and the relationship of colony to colony. 


This method applied to koalas would eliminate the trauma of catching and collaring koalas.  It would be a great plus for those having to climb and catch the animal. Maybe in the future we will only have to collect droppings to ascertain the plight of our koalas. Science is great!



My forgetter's getting better,

But my rememberer is broke

To you that may seem funny

But, to me, that is no joke

For when I'm "here" I'm wondering

If I really should be  "there"

And, when I try to think it through,

I haven't got a prayer!

Oft times I walk into a room,

Say "what am I here for?"

I wrack my brain, but all in vain!

A zero is my score.

At times I put something away

Where it is safe, but gee!

The person it is safest from

Is, generally, me!

When shopping I may see someone,

Say "Hi" and have a chat,

Then, when the person walks away

I ask myself, "Who was that?"

Yes, my forgetter's getting better

While my rememberer is broke,

And it's driving me plumb crazy

And that isn't any joke.

Mériem with baby Bingo
Paul and Chuck heading off night tracking
Central Queensland Koala Volunteers

CQ Koala Volunteers seek the conservation of the koala and other tree living mammals in Central Queensland by
+Supporting research into koalas, other arboreal mammals and their habitat through (a) providing volunteer support to research projects, and (b) assisting in the raising of funds for research and the volunteer teams;
+ Developing public awareness of the needs of koalas, tree living mammals and their habitat requirements generally;
+ Fostering community support for koalas and tree living mammals generally;
+ Encouraging and assisting with the development of habitat rehabilitation projects where necessary through the region;
+Supporting the rehabilitation and release of sick, injured or displaced koalas and tree living mammals.

The Central Queensland Koala Volunteers are not about stopping development. They seek to encourage planned development, which allows for the co-existence of koalas and other tree living mammals with human activity.

Funds are used to buy equipment for the researchers, to fund volunteer field teams and provide limited support for animal carers. Donations may also be made to the Koala Research Centre of Central Queensland and are tax deductible.

Office Bearers
Alistair Melzer, signatory, Chairperson
Carmen Drake, signatory, CKQV representtative on Koala Research Centre Board
Shirley Hopkins, signatory, Treasurer
Gail Tucker, Minute Secretary
Doreen Lovett, Editor
Nick Quigley, web designer

Direct correspondence to:
Central Queensland Koala Volunteers Email
PO Box 1489
Rockhampton 4701
or call Denise on 0749309944 and leave a message

Download Brochure PDF format


For Arts in the Park this year we had our usual spot under the Banyan trees in the Botanical Gardens. We were all set up and ready to go by 8.30 am, thanks to Carmen and Gloria, who helped carry the merchandise from the vehicle to our space under the trees.

We had a 'special' on the Volunteers T-shirts and they sold well. I took along some singlets I had silk-screened some years ago and they all sold. The Orphan Koalas sold steadily as did the Cat’s Whiskers, our native plant supplied by Shirley and potted and nurtured by Doreen. Unfortunately due to a depletion of sizes, colours and styles the University shirts did not sell.

Thank you to Mary (and little helper) for coming along and giving some of their time.




Thank you to Doreen, Shirley and Kevin for coming along and serving out 120+ sausages, bread and onions at Harvey Normans on Saturday, 5th November.


We started the day with me cooking, Doreen stuffing sausages onto bread  (Sometimes the sausage went on the serviette!  I hope I’ll be better next time) and Shirley taking care of the money.  At 10.45 am Kevin arrived and the assembly line moved along with Kevin cooking, me stuffing sausages onto bread (remembering to put the bread on the serviette before you put the sausage on got a bit hard sometimes).  Shirley kept up the good work of keeping the money in order.


Harvey Norman's store was busy so we had a steady flow of customers all morning.  The sausages, bread and onions lasted till 12.00 midday.


After paying for onions, ice, gloves and serviettes we had a clear profit of $181.00.


Dawn Pound






The October trip ran between 14th and 26th October.  Our Principal Investigator on the trip was Alistair Melzer (he and Bill Ellis take turns for each of the trips).  Alistair had the help of Gail Tucker and, for the first week, Sean Fitzgibbon.  We also had an intern from France, Mériem Kadiri and post-graduate student Delma Clifton.  This Earthwatch team was one of our most culturally diverse, with volunteers from six different nationalities (not including our French intern).


The volunteers became very competent with the radio tracking, and were tracking all the koalas successfully with several teams also tracking during the nights.  The team also caught five koalas that were fitted with temperature and movement recording collars and several more koalas were caught for general collar changes.


Many of the female koalas had pouch young or back young, two of which were caught adding 'Bingo' and 'Casper' to our list of island koalas.  We heard a lot of male koalas calling at all hours of the day and night as well as noting a lot of moving around by the males, many of which became quite difficult to track down on a daily basis.  This was most likely a consequence of breeding activity, which happens at this time of year for koalas.



Netta and Sean release Abby after her collar
was changed

Yin Yin, Donna, Netta & Chuck enjoy a
rainbow after a storm