Here are the minutes of our first meeting on February 9th 2016
Present: David Jackson, Libby Hepburn, Liz Allen, David Jones, Barbara Jones, Maggie Clowes, Nick Yee, Linda Churchill, Denise Krake, Graeme Krake
Expressions of interest but not able to attend this meeting: Grant Brewer, Danie Ondinea, Paul Whittock, Diane Whittock, Kerry Vance, Olivia Forge, David McCreery, Angelika Erpic
David welcomed everyone to this first meeting to discuss the interest in establishing a regional field naturalist group. He spoke of his experience with similar organisations including the Victorian Field Naturalist club and the South Australian Field Naturalist Society. David described the activities of a farmer in SA who had become interested in invertebrates and had become sufficiently expert to write a book on Ants of the genus Camponotus. David also spoke of his experience of establishing a FNSociety in Broome – The Kimberley Field Naturalist Society, which may still be in existence today.
The group was invited to talk about their thoughts on this suggestion and their own interests. Maggie said that BioBlitzes were great, but only carried our over a couple of days and that serious scientific investigations will need repeated surveys of chosen locations if they are to be really valuable in answering many important ecological questions. She described the Eurobodalla Natural History Group which is of long standing and has regular monthly meetings as well as producing an annual report of sightings observed by members.
Graeme and Kate talked about their work with the Healesville wildlife sanctuary and would be happy to be part of something locally here. Graeme suggested not setting up another group but meeting informally at least to begin with.
Barbara cautioned about the activities seeming too scientific for ordinary people. We need to offer things at a level that will attract the general community.
Linda’s interests are soils including microbiology and she would be interested in coring the beds of local estuaries. David jones would like to see regular botanical surveys of Bournda Nature Reserve. Maggie knows of a property near her own, at CooribarNP which is of difficult access, but which has a different rich diversity of birds to her own property. It would be interesting to compare the two.
Other suggestions for possible activities of a FNG: • short courses on survey methodologies to develop the skills base of the group
• regular visiting speakers such as the Canberra Ornithological Group when they come for their regular surveys, or Steve Sass & colleagues
• Danie Ondinea suggests seagrass surveys of our estuaries using a dronePat Hutchins 1980’s surveys of invertebrates in Merimbula Lake could be revisited
• Maggie’s land surveys • Four Winds have requested Atlas of Life help to develop baseline data for their property
• surveys associated with the Bundian Way Discussion around how best to establish a group.
No one had enthusiasm for setting up another organisation at this stage, so it was decided that David Jackson and Libby would put together a calendar of activities for a year and we would see from the levels of interest and engagement what we might do in the future. For the moment the group will operate under the auspices of the Atlas of Life and a further meeting on the subject of the establishment of a FN group was not scheduled at this time.