Members newsletter September – October 2023

Members newsletter September–October 2023

In this edition

Members-only forum

Membership matters 


Project updates

Sediment accumulation project

Community engagement

Friday Environment Forum

Environment Centre – open day and volunteer drive


Activity group updates

Bird Observers’ Group

Botany Group

Members-only forum

Members are invited to come along to the members-only forum to meet the management committee and project officers, and get an update on our ongoing projects and the work we are doing behind the scenes.


Date: 18 November 2023

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Venue: Environment Centre


Please RSVP your intention to attend by 8 November to the Secretary at


Prue McGowan

Secretary, Noosa Parks Association

used sediment collection units lying in a boat

Upper Noosa River, October 2023

Credit: Mary O’Callaghan

Membership matters

As a membership organisation, NPA draws on the expertise of our members to provide leadership on important issues pertaining to our region. Recent reports from our project officers include:


Throughout its 60-year history, NPA and its members have helped protect Noosa’s way of life, and today the threats the Noosa environment faces are as great, if not greater, than ever.


New membership subscriptions can be purchased now and are valid until 31 December 2024 at the unchanged annual rates of:

  • $60 for families
  • $35 for individuals
  • $5 for new student memberships
  • $25 for student renewals.


Please encourage your like-minded friends and family to join now.


Mike Sackett

NPA Membership Secretary

Sediment accumulation project 

As the sediment project comes into its final stage of completion, all remaining sediment collection units were retrieved by volunteers and Dr Simon Walker during September.


All samples were bagged and taken back to Ecological Service Professionals (ESP) in Brisbane where they will be dried and analysed. Data from the loggers attached to several units was downloaded, combined with data from the multimeter (which sampled the water) at all the sites, and will be included in Simon’s final report. Simon’s findings will eventually be presented at a Friday Forum.


During their extensive time submerged, the units gathered a variety of marine life, much of it localised to certain parts of the river and lakes system.


For example, the upper reaches revealed an abundance of juvenile mussels on one unit, small calcium worm tubes on another, and quite a few rapidly growing pearl oysters around Tewantin and Lake Doonella, larger than a 50-cent piece.


Simon is confident our science-based knowledge of sediment in the system, and its mobilisation and impact, will be expanded and will help in future restoration and decision making.


Bryan Walsh
Project Officer, Noosa River & Lakes program

used sediment collection units lying in a boat

Job done for the sediment collection units

Scientist with sediment collection traps at the Noosa River

It’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it! Dr Simon Walker with the retrieved sediment collection traps, Noosa River, September 2023

Close up of juvenile mussels growing on a sediment collection trap, Noosa River.

Juvenile mussels growing on a sediment collection unit, Noosa River, September 2023

Close up of small calcium worm tubes growing on a sediment collection trap, Noosa RiverNoosa River.

Small calcium worm tubes growing on a sediment collection unit, Noosa River, September 2023

Friday Environment Forum 

From now till year’s end, admission to Friday Environment Forum will be free for members and $5 for non-members with donations encouraged. This trial will be supported by a membership promotion in October and November, with new members joining in those months receiving extended membership to the end of 2024 (up to 15 months’ membership for the price of 12 months).


Recently, large audiences have enjoyed Alan Franks’ tales of his 23 years of working with species that depend on hollows, and Dr Carina Anderson from the University of Southern Queensland assembled an array of knowledgeable speakers to inform the audience about building bushfire resilience.


The Environment Centre was buzzing with activity last week when Dalia Mikhail of Noosa Environmental Education Hub (which is based at the Environment Centre), conducted a forum titled ‘Custodians of place: it’s up to all of us’.


The audience was uplifted to hear several young secondary and university students speak with enthusiasm and passion about the local environment and their participation in its care. We hope the other young audience members were inspired by their example.


With the end of year fast approaching, bookings with payment are now being taken for the Sunset Cruise on Thursday November 23 (4:30 pm arrival till 6:45 pm). The cost is $25 per person to enjoy sunset and nibbles on the beautiful Noosa River – BYO drinks. Please pay Alison in cash at the Friday Environment Forum.

young students looking at oyster spats through magnifying glass

Young speakers Ashley, Milli and Jarrah with Dalia Mikhail (centre) and audience member Harley (left) examine oyster shells from the Noosa River Oyster Restoration project at the ‘Custodians of place’ forum held at the NPA Environment Centre.
Credit: Liz Diggles

Upcoming Friday forums

  • 13 Oct: Finding and photographing birds – Gary Quirk
  • 27 Oct: Pollen and other beasties will surprise! – Dr Linda Falkner
  • 11 Nov: Australia on the brink: avoiding environmental ruin – Professor Ian Lowe AO.


For forum details, visit the Friday Environment Forum or check out the FEF Newsletter issued on the Tuesday before each forum.


To join the mailing list, visit the Friday Environment Forum and look for the SUBSCRIBE button.


Liz Diggles
Friday Environment Forum 

Environment Centre – Open day and volunteer drive 

This year the Wallace Park Precinct celebrates 30 years of operation. This significant milestone will be marked by Noosa Council on Friday 17 November with a special event at the Library/Leisure Centre.


Together with its neighbours the Noosa Library and Bridge Club (a building moved onto site), the Noosa Parks Association Environment Centre was constructed in 1993 – NPA’s founding members had long seen a need for a physical building in which to meet and conduct their business as well as to better educate the community about Noosa’s unique natural assets. The building was officially opened in 1994.


To help promote the Environment Centre and attract more volunteers, we are running 2 events during October and November:

  • On 18 October from 10 am to 12 pm we will have a table at the Seniors Connect event being run by Noosa Council. This FREE Noosa Expo will be promoting activities and support services for seniors in this area, and includes morning tea and entertainment. Come along to the event and say hi. Noosa Seniors is located behind the Leisure Centre.
  • On 15–17 November, to coincide with the Wallace Park Precinct celebrations, we will open the Environment Centre so that visitors can call by and look around the Arthur Harrold wing, have a chat with volunteers and get information on membership. We intend updating some of the displays beforehand.


We need volunteers to help staff the centre on the open days. If you would like to help, let me know via email. We plan to be open from 10 am to 2 pm each day. We are looking for helpers for either a couple of hours or the full shift.


On Friday 17 November at 8:30 am we also plan to have a bird walk in the carpark, as part of the open days and celebration. Please watch for further details as we approach November.


All ideas and other contributions are welcome. Please let me know.


Dave Vickery

NPA Environment Centre

Bird Observers’ Group

Alan Franks of Hollow Log Homes was our guest speaker on 11 August. Alan and his team have been providing nest boxes and monitoring services for 24 years, from Mackay to south of the Queensland border – the latest count is 60,000 nest boxes.


Alan and Stacey had a vision of protecting wildlife by providing safe nesting boxes. Now, their daughter, Dominique, and her partner, Wes, are leading the family business from their premises in Commerce Court, Noosaville. You can call them on 07 5472 3142 or email


Visits to private property are very special and enjoyed by all observers. Our September outing was to Moon Mountain Sanctuary where owner Lynn Scott led the group around her unique 50-acre property. We recorded 62 bird species, including one Latham’s snipe, and I have provided the list to the owners.


With 2024 program plans underway, I am looking for more private property visits. Please contact me with ideas for speakers or outings.


We are now looking forward to Gary Quirk’s Friday Forum presentation on 13 October. Gary has travelled Australia photographing birds, so his ‘show and tell’ will be very special.

Threatened Species

Many of Australia’s threatened species have succumbed to feral cats. It is worth repeating an article in the recent Friday Forum news:


‘Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has released a draft feral cat management plan. Its aim is to reduce the devastating impact of cats on Australian wildlife, with a focus on protecting the most at-risk species from extinction. Cats kill over 6 million native animals in Australia each day, and are challenging to manage. The plan released for public consultation has a ten-year horizon with an estimated cost of A$60 million in the first five years. It could be a major step towards achieving Australia’s global commitments to end extinctions.’


Valda McLean

Convenor, Noosa Parks Association Bird Observers’ Group

Botany Group

It was hard to condense Bob Tooth’s talk on early botanical collections of Australian plants into one short paragraph. This most interesting, well-researched talk was mainly about William Dampier who, in 1699, produced the earliest known, detailed record of Australian flora and fauna.


It was not until late in the 18th century, that other naturalists such as Joseph Banks, Robert Brown and Charles Darwin also explored Australia for plants, and they all took copies of Dampier’s books on their expeditions.


The walk in August was at the southern end of the Cooloola Recreation Area, which is part of the Great Sandy National Park. The vegetation was wallum woodland and, while there were many interesting wildflowers and other plants to see, the lack of rainfall over the past few months meant that wildflower numbers and diversity was not as great as usual for the month of August.


In August last year (2022), Cathy and Denis joined a 10-day tour travelling along the Queensland section of the Savannah Way. They started from Cairns and travelled through Croydon and Normanton on the way to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria. They explored some fascinating areas along the way, including the Cobbold Gorge and Undara Lava Tubes, which are a spectacular natural wonder formed from volcanic activity. Cathy and Denis shared many botanical highlights with a presentation of plant images and useful descriptions.


The September outing took place about 6 km from Kenilworth, near the junction of Little Yabba Creek and the Mary River. The Fig Tree Walk, which is just over 1-km long, took us through riverine rainforest featuring a diverse selection of rainforest trees, including many Moreton Bay figs (Ficus macrophylla). Some of these were massive, with matching buttresses, and must provide food and shelter for many species, including wompoo pigeons which were seen by some members.


Sonia MacDonald

Botany Group

Group of bushwalkers posing in front of a giant fig tree

Botany Group members on the Fig Tree Walk

Credit: Eri Maeda