There are many community groups in Mackay, working on a range of environmental projects. If you would like to find out more about some of the groups helping to make a difference in Mackay, or if you would like to attend one of the working bees or meetings, please contact council's Natural Environment program.
Find out about:
- Conservation Volunteers Australia
- Friends of Morag McNichol Reserve
- Mackay and Whitsunday Branch of the Bird Observers Club of Australia
- Mackay Conservation Group
- Mackay & District Turtlewatch
- Pioneer Catchment and Landcare Group
- Society for Growing Australian Plants (Mackay Branch)
- Sarina Landcare Catchment Management Association
Morag McNichol always wanted to see a section of the family property in Andergrove saved for nature conservation.
In 1990 Mrs McNichol sold her property to the Pioneer Shire Council (prior to amalgamation) and negotiated for a small portion of the land to be developed and a larger portion of land (13.67 ha) saved for nature conservation. This area was later named Morag McNichol reserve in memory of Mrs McNichol.
Since 2003 a group of committed volunteers, the “Friends of Morag McNichol Reserve” have been hard at work, helping to restore the remnant vegetation as habitat for local wildlife. The reserve obtained Land for Wildlife listing in 2004 and is now one of Mackay’s iconic reserves. It is an great example of a rainforest community growing on a sandy soil. The reserve has significant environmental habitat values and over the years various specialist groups such as Society for Growing Australian Plants and the Mackay branch of Bird Observation and Conservation Australia have visited the reserve and marvelled at the natural biodiversity of the site.
The friends group meet monthly to conduct working bees in the reserve. Supported by council’s Natural Environment Program, the working bees give local community members the chance to get their hands dirty and get involved in on ground activities such as tree planting, fencing, weeding and mulching, which help regenerate, conserve and protect the natural environmental values of the reserve for future generations.
In July 2006 the friends group again took part in National Tree Day activities, and planted 60 native trees to revegetate vehicle tracks that once criss-crossed the reserve.
The friends group, supported by council and sponsored by Pioneer Catchment and Landcare, recently obtained funding to build an information shelter on the corner of Pine and Wattle Street, so they can promote the reserve’s fascinating history, flora and fauna and inform the local community about up coming activities and projects.
The Mackay and Whitsunday Branch of Bird Observation and Conservation Australia (MACBOCA) was formed in July 1991 and brings together people who are interested in learning about birds and appreciating their beauty in their natural environment.
New members and visitors are always welcome to join in the monthly outings. All that is required is an interest in birds and desire to see them in their natural surroundings. A pair of binoculars will come in handy but these can be borrowed if need be. Mackay is blessed with an abundance of bird species. It also has many different bird habitats which are easy to access. The outings are held on the first Sunday of the month.
For more information contact Marj on 4952 2964 or alternatively email Madge email@example.com
Find out about where to go bird watching around Mackay (PDF 577 kb).
Mackay Conservation Group recognises and strives to promote awareness of the value of our natural environment.
The group aims to represent people's desires to protect and maintain our region's natural assets and encourage moves towards sustainable systems. They achieve this by education, research, advocacy and action in cooperation with other community groups, industry and government. The group works within the Central Queensland Coast and Brigalow Belt bioregions in the area from Bowen in the north, west to Clermont and South to St Lawrence, as well as the off-shore islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Environment Centre, located at 156 Wood St Mackay, is opened Tuesday,Wednesday, & Thursday 8:00am - 1.00pm and Friday 9:00am - 12:00pm. The Environment Centre has a reference library of some 3000 items from books, to videos, cd's, dvd's, reports and tapes. They have several information kits available covering a variety of subjects such as landcare, water, transport, wetlands, and the Great Barrier Reef and keep a supply of preloved books for sale as well as other environmentally aware items.
Phone: 4953 0808 (After hours: 4956 3256 or 4966 8025 (before 8:00pm)
Fax: 4953 5438
For more information visit the Mackay Conservation Group website.
Late at night when most of us have been sleeping deeply for many hours, a small number of people around the Mackay Whitsunday region are walking our beaches. They’re not insomniacs, although it must help to be one. These people are dedicated Turtle-watchers with a commitment that drives them to push the boundaries of their waking hours so they can observe and protect the nesting Turtles who frequent our beaches during their laying season. Egg-laying females come to our shores around the time of the evening high tide during October to February each year.
Our region’s Turtle numbers are low with only 90 or so nesting turtles frequenting our beaches from Seaforth to Clairview .This means our coast is classified as a ‘low density’ nesting area . However -the protection of this iconic species is no less important, as their presence is a key attraction to tourists and locals alike.
The Mackay District beaches are host to 3 main species of turtle. The main species which nests only on Australian coastal beaches is the Flatback turtle. Offshore islands support populations of Flatback and Green turtles. Occasionally -on remote islands- the Loggerhead turtle may be sighted. Most beaches along the Mackay-Sarina coast are turtle-friendly beaches and support the nesting of Turtles
Volunteers -like our Turtles -are a ‘rare breed’ in themselves. To become qualified to watch over turtles in this way requires that you become permitted to do so by the Environment Protection Authority. This involves taking a two week long trip to Mon Repos Beach Research Centre located adjacent to a Turtle Rookery in Bundaberg where under the guidance of Queensland’s own international expert in turtle research, Dr.Col Limpus -you can be trained in the art of turtle monitoring and protection.
Volunteers learn to apply principles of Animal Ethics to which other species protection volunteers such as Wildlife Carers and bird observer’s groups adhere. Turtle watchers learn how to do turtle tagging, how to dig nests to undertake egg counts, measure nest temperatures and nest relocation methods. A Turtle watcher’s main aim is to ensure that each year as many hatchlings survive as possible – so they get to cross their beach to get the magnetic imprint which enables them to know where to return to reproduce in about 30 years time.
Mitigation of threats to Turtles is the key theme of education efforts of the Mackay and District Turtlewatch Group. Education which balances a delivery of public understanding of Turtle habitat and behavioural needs with people's innate curiosity to observe them without threatening their survival is the aim of the group.
Threats to turtles in the Mackay district include:
- Nest disturbance by people, dogs, and vehicles
- Behavioural threats including-disorientation of the turtles from inappropriate lighting which draws turtles away from the safety of their beach habitat. Removal of foredune vegetation exacerbates this problem
- Shining torches on nesting females as they arrive to nest will send them back into the water
- Disturbances to hatchlings as they cross the beach to the water
- Accidental death due to injuries from collisions with water craft
- Entanglement in netting, plastic waste and marine debris
- Suffocation or starvation due to ingestion of plastic bags which they mistake for their favourite food- jellyfish
- Predation of juveniles and adults
- Reduction in foraging habitats – soft corals and seagrass meadows-restrict their range of living habitat
- Flooding which buries forage in sediment can lead to turtle starvation
The solutions Mackay& District Turtlewatch applies to this problem include:
- Signage at nesting beaches to manage beach user’s behaviour in turtle nesting season
- Facilitating local council’s installation of ‘Turtle friendly lighting’ at beaches ( i.e. Eimeo Beach)
- Relocation of nests where they are threatened by high tides to prevent drowning
- Tagging turtles for monitoring of populations
- In-schools education programs in the Sarina Beaches area
- Establishment of an informative website at: www.mackayturtles.org.au
Dead, sick or injured turtles can be reported to the Qld Environmental Protection Agency’s Marine Species Stranding hotline on 1300 130 372.
Turtle Watch always needs new volunteers – to keep an eye on our turtles - even in the dark. Visit the Mackay and District Turtle watch association's website to find out more.
Fay Griffin of Mackay Turtlewatch, Blacks Beach asks any people prepared to assist with the effort in any way to please contact her on Tel; 49 54 9613 or email on: firstname.lastname@example.org OR Diane Clarke of Sarina on Tel: 49 566 167 or email: email@example.com.
Pioneer Catchment & Landcare Group Inc. is a non-profit community-based organisation. It was formed in the early 1990’s as one of the first catchment groups in Queensland, and was then called Pioneer Integrated Catchment Management Association (PICMA). Funding is from Caring for our Country through Reef Catchments Mackay Whitsunday Inc., and is supplemented from a range of other sources. Pioneer Catchment & Landcare Group Inc. works in partnership with Mackay Regional Council and works closely with other key stakeholders.
Pioneer Catchment & Landcare Group activities in 2009 include:
- Mackay and Sarina Coastal Project
- Celebrating our Wetlands – the Slade Pont and Andergrove Melaleuca and Tidal Wetlands
- Healthy Waterways
- Reliance Creek and Fursden Creek Fish Kill Project
- The Lagoons and Gooseponds Ck Water Weed Project
On Farm Composting Project
Composting at Home Workshops
For more information about Pioneer Catchment and Landcare Group's programs and activities and for contact details visit www.pioneercatchment.org.au
Membership of the Society is open to anyone interested in the growing and preservation of Australian plants. Branch membership includes membership of the Queensland regional group and a range of local activities and benefits. These include friendly informative meetings, plant propagation group workshops, an extensive library, branch publications and a regular newsletter. Meetings are usually held on the first Thursday of the month (except January) at the Mackay Gem & Craft Society Hall, Leisure Court, Mackay. 7.30 pm Library, plant and publication sales. 8.00 pm Business followed by regular features and a topic of interest. Meetings conclude with a raffle and supper.
Visitors are always welcome! For further information telephone the Secretary on 4955 1745. PO Box 6864 Mackay Mail Centre, 4741.
Sarina Landcare Catchment Management Association (SLCMA) works with the community to help protect the natural environment within the Sarina Catchment. We do this by providing free property visits and land management advice to landholders; undertaking onground rehabilitation projects; engaging youth and volunteers in educational and practical Landcare activities.
We provide assistance on a range of topics from pests and vegetation management to waterway, biodiversity and coastal management. Members also receive extra benefits such as 20 free native plants each year, monthly newsletters, invitations to field days and workshops.
We are a not-for-profit community organisation that was formed in October 2001,following the amalgamation of Sarina Integrated Catchment Management Association and Sarina and District Landcare Group Inc. SLCMA works in partnership with the community, local Councils and other stakeholders to promote a strong Landcare and sustainable catchment management ethic within the Sarina Catchment.
The Sarina Catchment is located in the southern portion of the Mackay Whitsunday Natural Resource Management region and covers an area of approximately 169,000 hectares. The geographic area of the Sarina Catchment, is bounded in the north by the Alligator Creek catchment, in the south by the Flaggy Rock Creek catchment and in the west by the
Phone: 07 4956 1388
Fax: 07 4956 2944