The Jim Cuthbertson Grant is awarded every two years to assist in funding a project which:
- improves the conservation value/resilience of one or a number of parks;
- strengthens the science and evidence base of one or a number of parks or park proposals; or
- advances community knowledge of, or connection to, Queensland’s national parks
This time last year, Ms Jessica Lovegrove-Walsh with Mr Paul Revie were the 2021/22 Jim Cuthbertson grant recipients. Over the past year, they have used the grant to undertake the first fauna survey in Nerang National Park since 2003.
We caught up with Ms Lovegrove-Walsh to see how her research is progressing and how the Cuthbertson Grant has been invaluable to their research efforts.
What are you hoping to achieve from the project?
We’re hoping to gain baseline data of the vertebrate assemblage in Nerang National Park. Of particular interest for these surveys are the nocturnal animal surveys, as Nerang NP has scant records of greater gliders and powerful owls, but also small mammal surveys which have never been conducted in the Park.
Mountain biking is on the rise in Nerang NP, and the results of these surveys could elude to impacts mountain biking or increased urban pressure is having on the vertebrates in the park.
Why is this research important for Nerang NP?
Nerang NP is a large section of remnant bush land surrounded by a sea of rapid development in Australia’s fifth largest city. The management plan for Nerang NP is currently being reviewed and these fauna surveys will inform future park management decisions. The surveys help us with our understanding of threatened species in the Park or where species are that are sensitive to disturbance.
Why did you apply for the Cuthbertson Grant?
The revision of the management plan and lack of baseline fauna data compelled us to apply for this grant. We primary needed the Cuthbertson grant for costs associated with fauna surveys, specifically the development of a fauna survey guide and an ecologist to conduct small mammal trapping that would otherwise be impossible to conduct with volunteers alone.
How has the Cuthbertson grant been used (what has it funded)?
Thus far, the grant has paid for the fauna survey guide developed by a zoologist which we have been following for our fauna surveys over the last 12 months. The guideline has been used as a point of reference for community surveys to ensure best practice methods are followed.
To date, 20 surveys and one round of camera trapping has been conducted. Results of these surveys compelled us to apply for an additional grant to install 50 nest boxes in Nerang NP for greater gliders, as we discovered greater gliders in areas of the park where they hadn’t been recorded before.
Would this project be possible without grants?
The majority of this project would not be possible without grants. The Cuthbertson grant has allowed us to hire a zoologist to write a survey guide, engage volunteers in nocturnal animal spotting, and will pay for a zoologist to conduct small mammal trapping surveys (which wouldn’t be possible without funding).
The Cuthbertson grant alone does not cover all the costs associated with the fauna survey’s we’re aiming to do, but has set us up to receive further funding from other sources to continue this incredibly important work.
Discoveries to date:
- Copper backed toadlet (Pseudophryne raveni) is widespread in Nerang National Park, favouring ephemeral pools throughout the Park (even on ridge lines!).
- Cane toads are also throughout the Park, even on ridge lines in dry sclerophyll forest.
- Greater gliders are more widespread than previously thought! The discovery of more greater gliders in Nerang NP led us to apply for a larger grant to install 50 nest boxes for them as part of a Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grant.
- No feral or domestic animals appeared on our baited cameras (no foxes, cats, dogs).
- First record of a common dunnart on our camera traps:
The $4,000 NPAQ Cuthbertson grant is made possible thanks to a much-appreciated bequest from Jim Cuthbertson, and matching funding from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. The grant is offered every two years via the NPAQ website, with the Inaugural grant being presented in 2018/19.