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Biodiversity and Fire program

2019–2020 has been a big year for the Biodiversity and Fire Program. After a number of staff changes, the team now consists of Biodiversity and Fire Program Manager Kerri Woodcock who is based in Cairns, and Biodiversity Officer Dr Helen Penrose, and Community Engagement Officer Joey Dix who are both based in Cooktown.

The team has been focused on threatened species work including working with Traditional Owner groups to progress understanding of Cape York populations, and to put threat remediation activities in place for the cassowary, golden-shouldered parrot, ant plants and coastal littoral vine forest.

Highlights include meetings with the Cassowary and Golden-shouldered Parrot Recovery Teams, spending time on Country with Traditional Owners, and a week in the Kutini Payamu (Iron Range) National Park with Traditional Owners and CSIRO surveying cassowary numbers.

The team also held a highly successful Fire Forum in Cooktown in December. Attended by around 100 land managers, Traditional Owners, carbon farming specialists and Queensland Fire and Rescue representatives, the Forum provided a great opportunity for networking and prioritising action areas for improving fire management on the Cape.

While the COVID-19 outbreak prevented on ground activities, the team has spent the last few months engaging with stakeholders remotely, developing training materials, and fine-tuning plans for on Country work on eastern Cape York, once the access restrictions are eased.