Hello all GTCP friends! As noted on the Gnaraloo Bay Turtle Thermometer, the GTCP monitoring…
Greetings from the GTCP turtle tracker team 2011/12! We are all very excited to be here at Gnaraloo and are working hard with pre-season arrangements and preparations for the project to formally start on 1 November 2011.
This year’s team includes Kimmie Riskas (Team Leader, USA), Bobby Edman (Community Volunteer Coordinator, USA), and Fiona Morgan (GIS Cartographer, Australia). We were accepted after an interview process that considered applicants from Australia and around the world and were very excited to receive the final offers of position.
I earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of California, San Diego (USA) in environmental systems – ecology, behaviour and evolution, with an emphasis on marine biology. I have previous nesting beach experience with Loggerhead and Green turtles in Cape Verde (West Africa) and southwest Florida (USA) as well as background knowledge of sea turtle conservation in the Atlantic Ocean. I’ve also performed marine and terrestrial research surveys throughout Costa Rica (South America) and Baja California (Mexico).
Bobby received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (USA). He has experience working with Loggerhead and Green turtles on the beaches of southwest Florida (USA), as well as field work with salamanders in Virginia (USA). During the course of his research in Florida, Bobby had to interact and coordinate with a network of up to three hundred community volunteers, helping him to develop the communication and management skills that will be essential for the success of the GTCP Community Volunteer Program.
Fiona has a Bachelor of Science from Murdoch University (Western Australia) in marine science and conservation wildlife biology, with a minor in animal biology. In addition to conducting various wildlife surveys along the WA coast, she has worked with elephants in the forests of Thailand and is looking forward to gaining field experience in sea turtle conservation. Her previous experience with GIS mapping earned her the GIS Cartographer position.
Together the 3 of us make the GTCP scientific team for this season. Stuart Dijkmans, an Aussie who is currently living in Carnarvon, who worked for 5 years as a GIS / Photogrammetric Officer at Landgate (a Government agency in Western Australia) will provide GIS support to the program through the season to help us produce the best possible quality maps. Stuart has a bachelor degree in GIS from Curtin University and is currently completing a Postgraduate Degree in environmental assessment and management at Murdoch University. Thanks for helping us Stuart, we look forward to working with and learning from you!
Since arriving at Gnaraloo on Thursday night, Karen has been helping us with set-up, identifying and actioning the essential preparations for a successful season. These preparations range from reviewing past years’ scientific procedure and site protocols, setting-up and testing field equipment (including the Gnaraloo Weather Station which is quite tricky!), undergoing safety and vehicle inductions to creating information flyers, invitations and presentations for school groups, community volunteers and Gnaraloo guests that will participate with our work during the season. There is a lot to do, but we are excited to build on the work of previous years and make this year fun and exciting for all!