Read, J.L. (2003). Red Sand, Green Heart: Ecological adventures in the outback. Lothian, Melbourne.
Harrison was selected to be the Arid Recovery Intern for the 2022 February intake. In 2021, he completed his Bachelor of Science (Hons) at the University of Tasmania, where he investigated the efficacy of using acoustic monitoring to detect the migratory arrival of short-tailed shearwaters. Although the desert is a far cry from the coastal habitats to which he is accustomed, Harrison has quickly embraced the intricacies of arid-zone ecology.
Harrison will assist Arid Recovery in ecological monitoring and research, land management, and community engagement.
Nicole provides a supporting role to all areas around the reserve. She coordinates the rabbit incursion response by tracking, collecting behavioural data and trapping to ensure the conservation zones are rabbit-free. Nicole also performs the weekly fence check and helps with feral animal control around the perimeter.
Nicole’s background is cat management, biomechanics and animal behaviour, especially quadrupeds. She holds a BSc in Animal Ecology, Hons in Zoology.
Kath leads the team, managing operations, overseeing the science program and community engagement.
She has a background in conservation ecology, having completed a PhD on Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies in NSW, and spent six years working on declining mammals in northern Australia.
Jack is our first climate change graduate researcher and is looking into how our reintroduced fauna and native vegetation respond to and recover from drought and how we can manage the threat of drought in the future.
Despite his surname, Jack has a background working with reintroduced western quolls in the Flinders Ranges, where he researched juvenile survival and movement, and superb fairy-wrens, assessing nest predator response. He has also assisted with vegetation research in South Africa, assessing the impact of rising elephant populations in fenced reserves. He has a passion for our native wildlife and has a particular soft spot for our carnivorous marsupials and native reptiles.
Laura is the University of Adelaide Representative and is the Head of School, Biological Sciences . She was previously Associate Dean Research & Industry (Faculty of Science) and Head of Vascular Physiology & Reproduction in the School of BioSciences . Laura is internationally renowned for her research on the therapeutic actions of the peptide hormone relaxin in women’s health and cardiovascular disease.
Photo: University of Adelaide
Ines is a Roxby local with a passion for community. She coordinates volunteers, tours, school visits, community events and Arid Recovery’s digital communications. Also a talented photographer, many of the images on our website and social channels are Ines’ photos.
Emily is the current CEO of DemocracyCo . She is a facilitator by trade, and a specialist in complex community engagement with 25 years of experience. Coupled with her expertise and passion in environmental management, Emily’s core skills are around engaging communities in environmental endeavours.
Genevieve oversees the ecological monitoring program and works with other staff to set research priorities. Genevieve has a background in ecology and the eradication of introduced species. She has strong ties to Australia’s arid zone and completed her PhD on the ecology, evolution, and genetics of the kaluta (Dasykaluta rosamondae) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Milly has a background in administration and finance. Milly enjoys learning about the animals within the reserve and having the opportunity to share this knowledge with overseas visitors.
Martin is the BHP Representative and the current head of Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) at Olympic Dam BHP. Martin brings the great strength of HSE knowledge and leadership to the board with more than 20 years’ experience in the resource industry and in HSE leadership roles.
Nathan looks after feral animal control, general infrastructure maintenance and the ongoing upkeep of the Reserve’s predator-proof fences. He is also there to lend a hand with any fauna survey work that takes place.
Coming from Central Victoria, Nathan has a background in pest plant management, flora and fauna surveying and re-vegetation works. He has a keen interest in the conservation of all of our native wildlife, and a particular soft spot for our native flora.
Hugh volunteers with Arid Recovery, focussing on feral predator research. He is completing a postdoc through the University of Tasmania and the National Environmental Science Program Threatened Species Hub. Much of his research is conducted at Arid Recovery.
Having completed his PhD on feral cats in northern Australia, Hugh studies the interaction between cats, rabbits and native prey animals.
Georgie runs our monitoring program and maintains our important long-term datasets.
Arriving at Arid Recovery in 2017, Georgie has worked in various regional locations for the Victorian Government and also spent three years implementing the Glenelg Ark Project – a landscape scale fox control and fauna conservation project in southwest Victoria.
Katherine is one of the co-founders of Arid Recovery and was integral to establishing the reserve with her partner John Read. Katherine established many of the monitoring and research programs at Arid Recovery and continues to guide the science program as Principal Scientist.
Want to learn more about mammals of Arid Recovery?
Are you available to volunteer your time from May 8th - 16th?
You’ll be contributing to a long term data-set and get to meet the larger mammals that call Arid Recovery home!
For more details please contact email@example.com
--- 2019 volunteer spaces have been filled ---
Nathan links Arid Recovery’s science program with our community engagement activities.
Nathan assists on research projects and maintaining and expanding our long-term ecological datasets. He also coordinates Arid Recovery’s network of volunteers, organises tours and runs workshops for school groups.
Nathan is always looking for new ways of getting kids interested and excited about the natural world.
Steve is the Independent Chair of the Arid Recovery Board, with over 40 years of experience in arid-zone ecology and scientific and environmental management.
Photo: Threatened Species Recovery Hub
Heather is the Bush Heritage Australia (BHA) Representative and current Chief Executive of BHA. She brings over 25 years of experience in sustainability, environmental management and safety.
Photo: Bush Heritage Australia
Sandy is the SA Department of Environment and Water (DEW) Representative and current Group Executive Director Science & Information and Chief Information Officer at DEW. She brings wide-ranging experience in facilitating research partnerships, science communication, human resources and organisational management.
Photo: Sandy Carruthers / LinkedIn
Allan Holmes is an Independent Director, former Chief Executive of the SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and former Director of National Parks and Wildlife SA. He brings over 35 years of experience in environmental policy, management and Board governance.
Photo: SA Planning Commission
Mark is an Independent Director and brings extensive experience in financial management, organisational governance and project management.
Photo: Mark Praidko / LinkedIn
Andrew is an Independent Director and current partner at Minter Ellison, with over 25 years of experience in resources and corporate law.
Photo: Minter Ellison
37km² – Part of Arid Recovery’s Experimental Zone, this paddock is for landscape-scale experiments with feral animals in a controlled setting. It has been used for cutting-edge research, including studying the interactions of dingoes, foxes and cats, investigating prey-switching capacity in feral cats, and testing the effectiveness of predator training. Read more here.
26km² – Part of Arid Recovery’s Experimental Zone, this paddock is critical to researching whether threatened native species can coexist with feral cats. Contains bettongs, bilbies, feral cats and rabbits. Read more here.
14km² – The first paddock. Fully predator-proof design, with floppy-topped fencing and two electric hotwires. A refuge for vulnerable prey-species, it is feral-free and contains all reintroduced species, except quolls.
8km² – Home of Arid Recovery’s Research Station and Education Centre. Part of the Core Conservation Area, it is feral-free and contains all reintroduced species.
8km² – Originally built as a control paddock, to be free of both feral animals and reintroduced species, but is now incorporated into the Core Conservation Area. It remains feral-free, and contains all reintroduced species.
30km² – The largest paddock in the Core Conservation Area. Feral-free and contains all reintroduced species.
Matt commenced a 3 month internship at Arid Recovery in October 2017. He had previously completed a Bachelor of Science, Ecology and Conservation Biology with a minor in wildlife management at Griffith University, Gold Coast.
During his internship, Matt was involved in a wide range of activities, including wildlife surveying, community engagement and researching one-way gate placement and monitoring methods.
Rachel commenced a 3 month internship at Arid Recovery in October 2016. She had previously completed a Bachelor of Biodiversity and Conservation at Macquarie University and a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours) at the University of Technology, Sydney, where she investigated the spatial population regulation of ground-dwelling mammals in urban areas.
During her internship, Rachel designed and performed the first trials of using one-way gates as a bettong management tool.
Ben is responsible for controlling feral animals around the Arid Recovery Reserve. His work to remove feral cats and foxes is essential for keeping the reserve feral-free and important for improving the survival of quolls and other threatened species that disperse outside the fence into the surrounding landscape.
He has a background in pest control, having run his own business (B.A.M. Pest Animal Control), and recently completed a Diploma in Conservation & Land Management.
Ben joined the Arid Recovery team in 2019. He is excited to be working in conservation and is serious about tackling feral cats.
Hannah is a Research Officer for the University of New South Wales, based at Arid Recovery. The ARC Linkage Project she is working on investigates prey naivety, and whether prior exposure to predators can improve reintroduction success.
Hannah originally came to Arid Recovery in 2013 to complete her Honours research on burrowing bettongs. Having dabbled in various conservation projects after that, Hannah then undertook a PhD, studying various aspects of a brushtail possum reintroduction in the Flinders Ranges. Hannah returned to Arid Recovery in 2017 to begin her current role.
Hannah has a keen interest in conservation and reintroductions and is excited about potential future applications arising from the project she works on.
Courtney commenced a three month internship with Arid Recovery in February 2019. She had previously completed a Bachelor of Science (Animal Behaviour) at Flinders University.
Whilst at Arid Recovery Courtney was able to experience many different elements of the conservation and research program. Courtney spent majority of her time helping the team complete various jobs around the reserve including radio-tracking quolls, trapping bettongs and monitoring stick-nest rat populations using camera traps. Her favourite experiences included participating in the annual pitfall trapping and bettong trapping surveys.
Emily commenced a 3 month internship at Arid Recovery in February 2017. She had previously completed a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) and Master of Science (Zoology) at the University of Melbourne, where she investigated the feasibility of using a waterless barrier to halt cane toad spread in Western Australia.
During her internship, Emily researched the effectiveness of using one-way gates as a bettong management tool, and also analysed our social media impact.
“I loved every moment, but particularly enjoyed getting close up to the dunnarts, dragons, and skinks during the pitfall trapping, drawing tracks in the sand for visitors during sunset tours and chasing bilbies through the night for monitoring surveys”.
Emily is now undertaking a PhD with the Interdisciplinary Conservation (ICON) Science Group at RMIT. Her project aims to improve communications for threatened species conservation, with a focus on effectively engaging the public and decision-makers with so-called “non-charismatic” species (e.g. reptiles, rodents, insects and plants).
Emily has a research website and science writing blog.
Ben commenced a 3 month internship at Arid Recovery in February 2018. He had previously completed a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Zoology) and Masters of Research at Western Sydney University, where he studied the diets of Sydney’s urban foxes.
Whilst at Arid Recovery, Ben completed a research project assessing the effectiveness of using SPOT Trace technology to remotely track feral cats.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the annual pitfall trapping and bettong surveys, but the highlight of the experience was being invited to go out with the ecologists to release western quolls into the Reserve on the night they were being reintroduced. I loved the team out at AR and wish I could have stayed longer to be involved with all the great conservation work they are doing.”
Since completing his internship, Ben has been trying to get paid work in ecology, and has been enjoying his role as a tour guide at Taronga Zoo.
I interned at AR in winter 2018. I am from Tassie, used to cold and bone-chilling damp, so even the winter at Arid Recovery was hot and dry for me! Prior to the internship, I worked as a park ranger, and prior to that I completed Honours in Biological Science at the University of Tasmania. My honours was on the historical biogeography of the metallic snow skink. This sounds technical, but basically, many ecologists would like a time machine. Lacking one, they instead try all sorts of other ways to peer into the past: pollen in sediment cores, tree rings, fossils. Skink DNA was my time machine. By looking at their genetics, I travelled through time with the skinks, back to a time 35 thousand years ago when humans first walked into what was then the Tasmanian peninsula – dry, cold, glaciated, windswept. I wanted to know where this woodland skink species survived in such a radically different, though comparatively recent landscape. This experience was mind bending, perspective altering, and gave me a much richer understanding of the processes that have shaped the Tasmanian and Australian fauna and flora in geologically recent times. I am always fascinated to learn more about the forces and factors that shape the environment and assemble ecosystems. This fascination, alongside an abiding commitment to sustain the possibilities for life on earth has lead me to work and volunteer in far-flung and remote places like Norfolk Island, the New Zealand mountains and the Kimberley region. In 2018 I took leave from rangering and jumped at the wonderful opportunity to head into the inland heart of Australia and intern at Arid Recovery.
My favourite AR experience was getting to know and understand the different characters of the individuals behind this small conservation organisation in remote arid Australia. People can be so different in so many ways, and yet still be united by a heart-deep, abiding love and commitment to sustaining the essence of Australia – it’s wildlife and the environment they belong in. It was amazing to feel like a fully integrated part of the team at the end. It felt like I was just getting started and it was time to go! The vastness of that landscape was also ever present, the major character in the story. It was fascinating to ponder what this place means to the different people who have made their homes and lives there – indigenous people, pastoralists, miners, wildlife biologists. I saw the reserve and surrounds at a low ebb – after months of dry the animals were desperate for any rare green leaf, but I know this place holds surprises for the patient, when the rare rain falls. I feel like I am now a small part of the unfolding Arid Recovery story, and I am excited to see what happens next!
What have I done since the internship? As I made my way east, out of the arid heart of Australia, I stopped in at the truly astonishing Ikara-Flinders Ranges, and was lucky enough to encounter effortlessly graceful rock wallabies among the fractured rocks of the spectacular Brachina Gorge. I’m now back in Tas, still turning over the big questions in life! I have picked up a little bit of casual fauna consulting work and am working towards publishing my honours thesis. I have been taking it one step at a time, and trying to work out what the next big step will be! Masters? PhD? Thanks to all the people at Arid for welcoming me and sharing this incredible place and conservation endeavour with me!
Kirra commenced a 3 month internship at Arid Recovery in February 2018. She had previously completed a Bachelor of Science (Biodiversity and Conservation) and Honours in Environmental Management at Flinders University, where she used aerial surveying to estimate feral goat population densities in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges.
Kirra was involved in many elements of Arid Recovery’s research program and undertook a research project investigating inter-specific interactions between native rodent species.
Maddy commenced a 3 month internship at Arid Recovery in September 2017. She had previously completed an Honours degree at the University of New South Wales, where she studied the trophic cascades that have resulted from historic dingo exclusion in parts of the arid zone.
Whist at Arid Recovery, Maddy conducted a research project investigating the distribution of the threatened plains mouse throughout the Reserve.
Peta commenced a two month internship at Arid Recovery in July 2017. She had previously completed a Bachelor of Science (Hons), majoring in Ecology and Conservation Ecology at Griffith University.
Peta has a very keen interest in botany and threw herself into Arid Recovery’s flora monitoring surveys. Her favourite experiences were feral cat chasing (for research purposes) and waking up every morning and seeing red sand.
Since leaving Arid Recovery, Peta has started a PhD at the Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, examining if large-scale re-vegetation in agricultural areas can build more resilient landscapes under climate change.
Nathan commenced a 3 month internship at Arid Recovery in February 2017, which extended for another 2 months. He had previously completed a Bachelor of Science (Zoology and Conservation Biology) at the University of Western Australia and a BSc (Hons) at Murdoch University, where he studied the ecology and physiology of estuarine fish.
During his internship, Nathan studied the suitability of the Reserve for kowaris, and created a translocation proposal for the species.
Since completing his internship, Nathan has remained at Arid Recovery in the role of Field Ecologist and Community Coordinator.
Anna commenced a two month internship with Arid Recovery in November 2018. She split her time between two projects; the western quoll reintroduction program and the UNSW prey naivety experiment, where she was heavily involved in radio-tracking both quolls and bettongs. Prior to joining Arid Recovery, Anna completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Animal Science at the University of Adelaide. She has now returned to UoA to complete her Honours, where she is studying the effectiveness of audio-lures in Felixer traps.
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