Technology meets ecology at Doonan Creek Environment Reserve
  • Thursday 05 April 2018

Drones, geocaching and audio ecology have been combined to stimulate the senses of local students who joined conservation volunteers and university students in a tree planting day at a local environment reserve at Verrierdale.

After helping volunteers from Coolum and Northshore Coast Care plant around 1200 trees at the Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve, the year nine students from St Andrew’s Anglican College took in a bird’s eye view of the reserve through the use of drones, and explored the sounds of frogs, birds and more with an introduction to audio ecology from students at University of Queensland.

Division 9 Cr Steve Robinson applauded the students’ efforts, and welcomed the opportunity for young people to get hands-on experience in conservation and environmental management.

“It’s great to be able to partner with local schools to restore and conserve the natural values of this important area,” Cr Robinson said.

The majority of the Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve (252ha) was acquired through council’s environment levy land acquisition program in 2013.

Combined with the adjoining conservation areas this creates a total reserve area of 334 hectares of diverse habitat.

Since its acquisition, council has hosted a number of planting days and successfully managed a range of planting programs to return a cleared portion of the former agricultural property to its natural state.

Recent surveys have found a wide variety of native wildlife at this site, including 125 different bird species, a koala, vulnerable wallum frogs and more than 24 different mammal species living in the reserve, including the curious fishing bat.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said council had recently released for public comment a long-term management plan for the Doonan Creek Environmental Reserve highlighting the reserve’s environmental, social, cultural and economic values and providing a management guideline that will help protect the reserve’s biodiversity in the future. 

“These plans are vital to ensure we protect our conservation estate and our natural environment,” Cr McKay said.

“It’s wonderful to see young students engaging in hands-on conservation activities and putting some of these plans into action.”