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TropEco NEWS

Daniel’s wild about greenride

Grant winners

Community gardens Permaculture Car pooling Coconuts C2K bike ride

Issue 9 July - September 2013 100% recycled paper

Letter from the Editor

Issue 9 July - September 2013 Editor: Adam Connell Sub Editor: Suzy Keys

Contents 3.

What’s happening?


Carpooling comes to JCU by Lena Taylor

5. JCU Community Garden Takes Shape by Adam Connell Connell 6.

Sustainability Club by Lena Taylor


C2K by Suzy Keys


Permaculture - The Ups & Downs of Getting Dirty by Lania Lynch


Killer Coconuts in Paradise by Suzy Keys

10. Action for Sustainability Fund winners 11. Hands on Habits by Sophie Essberger

Contribute to TropEco News If you have a sustainability related story or event you want to talk about, please send it to with any relevant pictures and we may put it up on the TropEco Facebook page or publish it in TropEco News. TropEco News is published on 100% recycled paper and is also available online. Limited copies are printed to minimise resource consumption.

Front Cover: JCU IT student Daniel Wild won a grant to develop a car pooling application called GreenRide for JCU. He’s pictured here in front of the new Cairns Institute building. Photo by Suzy Keys

Welcome to the 9th Edition of TropEco News. We're about to go into a new semester and hasn't the year flown by so far? Fortunately there's plenty happening across the University this semester on the sustainability front and you can check it out in this edition. Over the next few months we'll be seeing some wonderful projects being rolled out as part of the Action for Sustainability Fund. There's a diverse range of projects including the development of a Cairns carpooling website (Green Ride – see page 6), the rejuvenation of the Rotary International community garden into a modern, permaculture inspired, community learning hub (5), and creation of sustainable costuming for the play “All's well that ends well”, among many other projects. If you're in Cairns you can get along and see the play when it opens in October. We've just run a full two-week Permaculture Design Course on the Townsville Campus thanks to Brett Pritchard from Zoned In Permaculture Education and Design. Brett was able to offer a huge discount to JCU staff and students and Permaculture Townsville members. We hope to see some of the participants sharing their knowledge and inspiring others to take future courses. Also, keep an eye out for the sustainability art competition – Art of Awareness - being held in conjunction with SoCA. All JCU students are eligible to enter and there is a first prize of $1000. Check out the back page for more details. The JCU Sustainability Club has recently formed on the Cairns Campus and is going strong, with lots of events and

2 TropEco, James Cook University, Tropical Queensland, Australia

activities planned for this semester. If you want to get involved check out page 4. To finish off I want to encourage everyone who is doing their bit for a more environmentally conscious and socially just world, to keep the momentum going. In the face of the current challenges we're facing daily with misinformation and vested interests being pushed through mainstream media and politics, there is a real groundswell of community action happening, driven by an awakening global consciousness and helped by our connectedness through independent and social media and grassroots actions. Keep fighting the fight peacefully but persistently. Adam Connell Manager, Environment Estate Office, Division of Finance and Resource Planning, James Cook University, Angus Smith Drive, Douglas, Qld.4811 P: +617 4781 5060 Mobile: 0459 097 253 E:

What’s happening? Bus passes still available for Cairns

Safer Together A conversation that must be had

The passes entitle students to unlimited travel on Sunbus services for a week and are just $10 in Townsville and $16 in Cairns. Get them at the JCU bookshop.

Discussion panel on road safety for Cairns cyclists

Bike Workshop in Townsville

August 14, 6-9 pm The Cairns Institute. Room D3.054

The workshop is at the creek end of the library. Drop in and say hi to Josh who is manning the workshop on:


Tuesdays 10am - 1pm Wednesdays 2pm - 5pm.

Cost $11 Register online at

Permaculture Weekly Market @JCU Cairns

The event is aimed at bringing together a community of Cairns people on varying ends of the road user spectrum to openly discuss and debate how our roads can be safer for everyone. The interest in organizing this event comes from JCU student, staff and other planners in the region committed to creating communities that work and function in a sustainable manner. Through this forum we as planners in the Cairns region, and Tropical North Queensland, seek to engage a pertinent topic for our region’s road users who in recent weeks have cried out for a more equitable use of our roads by all users, so we can develop solutions for all road users in the Cairns region.


All staff and students ofJCU are invited to submit quality photos on the theme of sustainability. Photographs are to focus on the principles and practices of sustainability, including how these are exemplified by people and place, objects and spaces, landscapes and land-uses. Finalist entries will be displayed at the 13th International ACTS Conference, held at the Novotel, Sydney Olympic Park on the 25-27 September 2013, where a ‘People’s Choice Award’ will be voted on by conference delegates. The deadline for entries is the12th August 2013. Download the competition flyer or visit ACTS website for more information. Australian Campuses Towards Sustainability

Thursdays 2.30-5.30pm

Put it in your calendar!

A GREAT big Green idea! Here are some interesting stats on bottled water (Thanks to The Gruen Transfer, ABC TV). It costs more than petrol. It takes 3 bottles of water to make 1 bottle of water. Fill an empty bottle a quarter full of oil and that’s how much petroleum used to make it. So why is it a $500 million dollar industry in Australia when we have some of the healthiest drinking tap water on the planet straight?”

Get yourself (and your family) a reusable stainless steel TropEco water bottle from JCU bookshops and take it everywhere you go. Source: TropEco, James Cook University, Tropical Queensland, Australia 3

Car-pooling comes to JCU – thanks to IT student Daniel Wild by Lena Taylor Earlier this year JCU launched the Action for Sustainability Fund – a grant program open to staff and students. There were 11 successful grants, totaling over $140 000; 5 of these were for student projects. One of those students was young entrepreneur Daniel Wild, who won a grant to develop an application that aims to kick-start car-pooling at JCU. Here Daniel tells us a bit about the project and what inspired him to apply for a sustainability grant.

About Greenride – JCU's soon to be new car-pooling application GreenRide will be JCU's new online carpooling network, provided for staff & students travelling to and from the Cairns campus. GreenRide will help to reduce carbon emissions, and alleviate traffic and parking congestion in Cairns. Once operational the GreenRide network is expected to reduce annual carbon emissions by up to 41 tonnes, with an estimated fuel reduction of 28,000 litres.

Photo: Suzy Keys GreenRide will be a collaborative project developed in association with local Web & Graphic Design agency, Etch Design Group. The GreenRide network is expected to be deployed in late September, and will be restricted to JCU staff and students of the Cairns campus. This restriction is part of a plan to provide a more secure network than the current alternatives. Additionally users may choose to restrict their ridesharing by gender. While prior to GreenRide there were some carpooling initiatives, lack of usability hindered their uptake. This is why a core focus of the application is ease-of-use. GreenRide will be a web based application, which works cross platform (i.e. just about any device with an internet browser), and does not require users to download yet another app before use. The aim is to deliver something "that just works". If you have a couple of seats spare in your car - you simply post a listing on GreenRide, then receive notifications from compatible users.

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About Daniel I am currently in my last year of an IT degree at JCU Cairns. The inspiration for this project came to me gradually, from different sources. Some days I couldn't find a parking space on campus; some days I would overhear students organising ride-shares amongst themselves; and some days I would look guiltily at the four spare seats in my car as I drove to campus daily from Redlynch. For me this project embodies one of those moments when you realise "wow, this is a real life problem and I now have the skills to contribute to the solution". It sounds cheesy, but embarking on this and other extra-curricular projects really has helped open the door to an abundance of opportunities. I now enjoy the luxury of being self-employed (no more slaving away in a bar!) and am considering a job offer from Geoscience Australia.

By Adam Connell TropEco recently won funding through the JCU Action for Sustainability Fund to build a Community Garden and Learning Hub at the current Rotary International community garden site. A working bee was recently held to remove the weeds from the site in preparation for construction which is expected to start in early August. Nine dedicated volunteers attended and knocked over the weeds in just over an hour. TropEco will be working closely with local permaculture expert Brett Pritchard to develop an interactive, user friendly, low maintenance garden with regular community workshops being held. The garden will include several learning zones displaying various integrated systems, such as wicking beds, aquaponics, vermiponics, worm farms, a seedling raising area and an outdoor classroom. See below for the planned garden layout. It is hoped the garden will be utilised by the resident students at the Rotary International College, as a supplementary food source. Regular workshops will be held for residents wanting to learn about local gardening and food growing techniques.


The wider community will also be invited to be involved in all stages of the project and TropEco will regularly hold workshops where volunteers can learn how to construct and maintain various gardening systems and help with planting and ongoing maintenance. Anyone interested in being involved in the Community Garden and Learning Hub public workshops should contact to be added to TropEco’s mailing list. It is expected workshops will be popular and may book out quickly due to limited numbers.


Community garden ready for construction Design of the proposed community garden TropEco, James Cook University, Tropical Queensland, Australia 5

JCU Sustainability Club by Lena Taylor

An invitation to the JCU Sustainability Club Thanks to some inspired students, JCU Cairns has a new Sustainability Club. Last semester Club activities included the Cairns viewing of Do the Math by; a film on innovative Earthship building; and a discussion on marine protected areas by Mariasole Bianco of the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre. Not to mention the excellent catering and conversation! So, come along and join us every Monday night (during Semester 2, 2013) for a fun and informative evening. This semester will see another excellent collection of documentaries and presentations on sustainability related issues – confirmed events include a film night showing Australian permaculture documentary Anima Mundi and a presentation by CEO of Advance Cairns Mark Matthews.

Photos: Andy Mack. Sustainability club members at the JCU Cairns Boathouse & Club President Johanna Kloot (right) with guest speaker Mariasole Bianco, the Marine Campaigner from CAFNEC.

Another great big green idea

A staple for a GREEN office By Brian Kenady, Library Liaison JCU If you care about the little mysteries of the past, in the early 1900's two American men, George P. Bump and J .C. Hawkins, were furiously filing patent applications for stapleless staplers. It's hard to say exactly who came up with the idea and even though Bump got his application in first, it seems that Hawkins had already been making the devices. Both men started companies which made and marketed heavy-duty, metal-made devices and both have faded into obscurity. Over 100 years later, is the stapleless stapler an idea whose time has come? A staple-free stapler is a great way to save a little bit of metal, and the savings, though individually small, will add up over time. Also, our location in the tropics means that humidity can often start to rust staples, leaving corrosion marks on documents after a few months if they've been left in the wrong conditions.

This type of stapler works by punching out a small notch in the paper and then folding it back in on itself through a small slit. The common versions that you find today seem to work best with 1-4 pages of paper, but apparently the old heavy-duty ones could get through a few more sheets. Many styles of stapleless staplers can be purchased online and it's even possible to find an original by Bump or Hawkins on eBay. Luckily, current versions are small, light and cheap. With JCU's commitment to being a green university, you can do your part by getting a staple-free stapler and punching away! To find out more about the saga of Bump and Hawkins and see prototypes of early stapless staplers, go to the Antique Outings blog which talks about the companies here: and here:

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The stapleless stapler was invented in 1900. This is the 21st century version available on Ebay. Good for 3-4 sheets.

Cairns to Karumba is 780 klms. It takes 8 hours by car non stop, but by road or dirt bike it takes 7 days, but is far more rewarding and fun to do. By Suzy Keys Townsville’s harsh climate calls for creative solutions to growing food. Adam Connell attended a wickingbed demonstration and tells us how it works. Photos By Adam Connell


780 Klms Challenge The Cairns to Karumba Bike Ride should be on every cyclist's bucket list of fun things to do. It's an annual event held in the last week of June and James Cook University has been a sponsor of this charity fun ride for several years. This year JCU was a Golden Spokes Sponsor sponsoring the event through cash donations, supply of volunteer's shirts and printed JCU bags. These colourful bags are favoured by riders for carrying their own plate, bowl, cup and other eating utensils. With 300 plus diners at each meal this is a necessity in the outback. The ride is split into two camps. The Dirty Boys and Girls and the Rugged Roadies. The Dirty Boys and Girls use mountain bikes and travel through cattle stations and across creeks and as their name suggests arrive in camp each night, pretty dirty. The Rugged Roadies use

road bikes and travel in 6 packs of graded ability with Escort drivers at front and rear to provide safety. That's my job, and that’s me with rider Craig Jenson above. I've been an escort driver for 4 years now, protecting Pack 2 from motorists, trucks and caravans on this busy outback road. The 780 klms is split into do-able chunks based on the distance between the few outback towns that exist along the way. Accommodation: Bring your own tent and sleeping bag. Camping is in rodeo grounds at Atherton, Mt Garnet, Mt Surprise, Georgetown, Croydon and Normanton with nightly entertainment. The emphasis is on having fun as well as making new friends, reaching your goals and getting fit. The 2013 event attracted 65 volunteers who donated a week of their time to cook, raise money, administer first aid, escort riders and record the event.

JCU Townsville Campus Physics PhD student, Bronson Philippa completed the ride this year and is pictured above (3rd from left) happy to be crossing the finish line and to pose for the ‘must have’ photo on the beach (see above insert). The ride began 16 years ago and raises money for children of the outback who rely on distance education. This is why JCU is a sponsor, as many of these children will eventually become JCU students and graduates. Some of them come on the ride as well. For those intending to take on the challenge during the 2014 winter break, training is recommended to begin in January. The longest days are 150 klms, while some are 80, depending on the towns. Many riders return year after year as it is a fun ride foremost. To find out more information go to the website. Be warned that the Dirty Boys and Girls ride books out months before the event.

TropEco, James Cook University, Tropical Queensland, Australia


Permaculture The Ups &Downs of Getting Dirty

My most recent adventure is with two chooks – Isobrowns, affectionately known as Noisy and Noisier which are great little layers, but have completely destroyed my garden looking for fat juicy worms. While they give me two eggs a day, the worms have now gone deeper to escape them. If you do get chooks, be prepared to wake up very early to let them out of the chookhouse or subject your neighbours to chortling from 6am. Ultimately they are more reliable than an alarm clock, providing hours of entertainment as they run and leap chasing the cabbage moths around the garden for that extra hit of protein. So, all these adventures have been done without permaculture training, but I'm confident I would have avoided multiple disasters and had a much more productive garden had I done a little more research and seriously investigated permaculture.

Permaculture Design Course 2013 My goal this year is to complete a Permaculture Design Course. Although it's a significant investment of time, others who have done the course say it completely changes your approach to gardening, (and living) in a much more sustainable manner, which I'm all for.

By Lania Lynch I'd heard the word permaculture bandied around for many years, and agreed with the principles of it, you know, growing things, having chooks, a compost system. I thought its all mostly common sense stuff. So I thought why not give it a go. Over the years I've dabbled in establishing my useful home garden, which along with some great roses, which no-one assured me would grow in the tropics, I've had varying success with some of the following edibles: Papaws (when I beat the flying foxes to them, and have a very tall ladder – they grow really really fast in Cairns). Sweet potato (most of which are still in the ground), and as it’s winter now, I need to dig them up. Herbs such as parsley, basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, lemongrass (all pre-chooks!). Passionfruit – the purple ones seem to do best, though at times it was a struggle with the neighbour cutting the heavily laden branches which escaped over the fence. Pineapples – their leaves are great, but the fruit, while delicious is tiny. Cherry tomatoes –you just can’t kill them, a great and very easy edible to grow. Grapefruit – wonderful except for the millions of green ants that build soccer-ball houses and subsequently try to eat me alive when I pull a resistant grapefruit and fling the little biteys everywhere. 8 TropEco, James Cook University, Tropical Queensland, Australia

The next Permaculture Design Course to be held in the Cairns region will be taught by Rick Coleman from Southern Cross Permaculture in conjunction with support from Sustainability Allliance FNQ. It will be held in Rossville (near Cooktown), at Ghost Gum Farm from September 30 to October 13. Ghost Gum Farm is envisioned to become an example of how to evolve and thrive through the changes that Peak Oil, climate volatility and global financial instability are imposing on all our lifestyles today and into the future.

Discount for JCU Staff & Students Southern Cross Permaculture and the Sustainability Alliance have very generously offered a substantial discount to JCU staff and students who wish to do the course. The two week course (including all materials, food and camping) usually costs $1500, which is pretty good to start off with. If 7 JCU staff/students sign up and pay their deposit by 30 July they have very generously offered to discount the course to $860. If you can spare time, labour exchange prior to the course can also be done as part payment.

Please contact if you would like to attend the heavily discounted course (this needs to be done ASAP and must be a firm commitment, including a $300 non-refundable deposit). Please contact Scott directly if you would like to investigate the labour exchange option by email or 07 4015 2339 Websites: and and

Killer nuts in paradise coco

Are coconuts more dangerous than sharks? Why do we love them? In part 2, Suzy Keys unravels the myths surrounding the Tree of Life.

A common myth quoted as fact, claims that 150 people die annually from falling coconuts, which is alleged to be 15 times the number of people who die from shark attacks. This was popularized in 2002 by the UK travel agency Club Direct, which used this myth to sell travel insurance, giving coconuts a bad name. This was achieved without a ‘NUTS’ movie and killer coconuts terrorizing tourists.

Misinformation abounds Google reveals two documented cases of death by falling coconuts, and only two published research papers investigating the subject. The evidence reveals that climbing a coconut tree and falling out of it, is more likely to lead to death and injury than being killed by a killer coconut. In Australia, death by lightning strike, shark or crocodile attack is more likely,rather than death by coconuts. A 1994 four year study of head trauma patients in Provincial Hospital, Alotau, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, by Dr Peter Barss, published in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery revealed that 2.5% of admissions (6 boys) were the result of falling coconuts, with 2 dying instantly. Another study from the Solomon Islands Central Referral Hospital from 1994-1999 found 3.4 % of injuries presented for surgery were coconut palm related, with 84 people falling out of trees, 16 being hit by falling coconuts and 3 had a tree fall on them. No deaths were reported. In 2008, the Cairns Post reported that four year old Jasper Burgoyne was killed and his father injured in Port Douglas when a dead Travellers Palm on private property, fell on them as they were walking along a footpath in near cyclonic winds. Subsequent news stories showed images of fruit laden coconut palms before revealing that it was a Travellers Palm. Another news report blamed spikes from shoes used to collect coconuts, for weakening the tree when

Travellers Palms don't have coconuts. A bizarre anecdotal report from Kim Patra on her blog in 2008, claims that a coconut related death was reported in the Bali Post triggering a memory of a work colleague who attended the funeral of a relative killed by a coconut. While placing offerings beneath the offending tree another member of the family was hit and killed by a coconut from the same tree, but there is no documented evidence.

Not enough research @ JCU This may be an area of research in search of a researcher and funding. JCU research projects reveal surprisingly little research into coconut palms, for a leading tropical research university because throughout the Pacific region, the tree of life is a major export and supplier of milk, copra, fibre and building materials. It personifies the tropics invoking feelings of mystery, relaxation, faraway places and romance. Without coconut palms swaying on a sandy beach it doesn't look tropical. Dr Celmara Pocock in her 2003 JCU PhD thesis 'Romancing the Reef: history, heritage and the hyper-real' and later paper 'Blue Lagoons and Coconut Palms: The Creation of a Tropical Idyll in Australia' (2005),says that the coconut palm has been a key player as a symbol of earthly paradise in the imagined and physical transformation of the Australian bush in tropical tourist landscapes, into a generic Pacific location. Both the tourist industry and tourists share responsibility for this 'product of a shared imagination'. This mythical 'product of a shared imagination' is alive and well in North Queensland, where idealized Pacific islands have been created at the expense of the Australian bush. This has given coconut palms emotive powers over the native vegetation, which has difficulty competing with such a powerful symbol of heaven on earth.

It's time to separate fact from myth. The Cairns Post and the Port Douglas Newsport both offer stories of the emotional impact that the removal of coconut palms from our shorelines evokes. In March 2012, the Cairns Regional Council removed 49 one hundred year old palms from Four Mile Beach before enraged locals stopped the chainsaw massacre and called for the removal of the council, rather than the palms. The 'iconic vegetation', which was a feature of Port Douglas tourism marketing, was to be replaced with 3000 native species. The council action was symbolic of the fractured relationship between Port Douglas and the Cairns Regional Council. The town was divided. “The coconuts are as endemic to our foreshores as any other species – for thousand of years coconuts have washed up on our shores and sprouted trees – just like all over the tropics” said Michele North, revealing a deeply held belief that is in fact part of the myth. A few days later, the Mayor Val Schier said she would support de-amalgamation of the Douglas Shire from the Cairns Regional Council, citing community dissatisfaction with the removal of the palms as one example of how it wasn't working. They split in 2013. References: Barss, P. (1994). The Journal of Trauma and Acute care Surgery. Pocock, C. (2005). Blue lagoons and coconut palms: the creation of a tropical idyll in Australia. Australian Journal of Anthropology, 16 (3). pp. 335-349. ISSN 1035-8811 Churchill, M. (2012).Not good enough Mayor admits. The Newsport. t-good-enough-Mayor-admitsNewsport.7268.0.html

TropEco, James Cook University, Tropical Queensland, Australia


The Action for Sustainability Fund JCU Grant Winners Permaculture Category 1: Activities that result in a Society sustainable outcome for JCU Cycling skills for students,$14,298 Mrs Adella Edwards, Townsville & Cairns By training licensed teachers, and operating under the AustCycle umbrella as a cycling skills provider, the JCU Townsville Bicycle Users Group will be able to offer frequent training events on campus at low or no cost to the students. JCU cycling trainers will also forge links with the community by taking the sustainability agenda to primary schools., $6,544 Mr Daniel Wild, Cairns GreenRide will be JCU's new online carpooling network, provided for staff & students travelling to and from the Cairns campus. GreenRide will help to reduce carbon emissions, and alleviate traffic and parking congestion in Cairns. See cover story page 4. Permaculture Edible Food Gardens, $29,172 Mr Adam Connell, Townsville This project will employ qualified personnel 12 hours per week to implement permaculture design for rejuvenation of Rotary House Sunshine Edible Garden (established in 1991 for the use of residential students). See page 5 for full story. JCU Permaculture Society Hub, $7010 Mr Leon van Wyk, Cairns

Sustainable Costuming for “All's well that ends well” $6,592 Ms Ruby Boussard, Cairns

This grant allows JCU honours student Ruby Boussard to be the Production Designer for this year¹s Shakespeare production by Tropical Arts "All’s well that ends well" to be performed at the Tanks, 15 - 26 October 2013. Ruby will lead a team of creators and run a series of workshops with the public and ARC Disability Services. Costume and set will be made from 100% recycled materials. Case studies of sustainable tropical green building expertise in FNQ, $21,606 Dr Lisa Law, Cairns The project is a joint initiative of the Tropical Green Building Network (TGBN) and James Cook University. The aim of the project is to create an online, freely available resource that provides a record of the features of selected sustainable/green/tropically adapted building projects in the Far North Queensland region. Science engagement and capacity building at JCU Singapore, $28,800 Dr Neil Hutchinson While JCU Singapore is rapidly expanding to provide students in the tropics with a range of educational prospects, there is little opportunity for student engagement in active research. This project will build sustainable capacity in terms of infrastructure and collaborative research relationships with local education and community partners.

Providing a place on Cairns campus where the JCU Permaculture Society can host regular grassroots events that empower the community to understand food and sustainability in a tropical context.

Category 2: Projects with demonstrable cost savings, and sustainability outcomes.

Cairns Campus Arboretum, $17,388 Miss Johanna Kloot, Cairns

Water Saving Action Plan, $6,410 Mark Thompson, Townsville

JCU Cairns Campus backs onto World Heritage rainforests, and has the potential to be one of the most beautiful and interesting university campuses in Australia. The development of an arboretum on the Cairns JCU campus will improve, build on, and unify the existing plant and garden elements of campus.

This project will implement a water saving action plan for the Ground Floor, Building 27, Law Business and Creative Arts. This will directly lead to both resource and financial savings for JCU.

JCU Green Bike Fleet, $13,000 Mr Tom Bayliss-Hack, Townsville A stock of secondhand bicycles will be acquired, repaired and maintained to a working standard, and then sold cheaply to students. This will mainly target international students, however it will be open to any student or staff member who is interested.

Vacuum pump replacement,$3,914 Adam Connell, Townsville This project will replace the water sealing vacuum pump in the Engineering Building with an oil sealed pump (costing $3914). The water sealed pump uses 5.6L/minute of water and runs 24 hours a day all year. This equates to 2.9million liters, and $5394 per year. Details: ability/connect/JCU_117980

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JCU Sustainability student, Leon van Wyk, (above) is the president and cofounder of the Cairns JCU Permaculture Society. Leon recently won a grant from the Action for Sustainability Fund to develop a place on Cairns campus where the JCU Permaculture Society can host regular grassroots events. These events will be designed to empower the JCU and wider community to understand food and sustainability in a tropical context. This project aims to install a small shed, one wicking garden bed, and purchase some tools and plants. The rental of a vehicle each Thursday will greatly assist JCUPS to reliably transport produce from the RealFood Network to the market the JCU Permaculture Society runs every Thursday afternoon. Get involved.

Activity participants learning about the new wicking beds recently built on JCU grounds. Photo: NQ Dry Tropics, Duey the Dugong with JCU Saints Catholic College volunteers

Hands on Habits A Professional Development activity with NQ Dry Tropics. A Professional Development activity called ‘Hands on Habits’ held at Townsville campus by NQ Dry Tropics, encouraged participants to engage with the JCU groundspersons. Written by Sophie Essberger, NQ Dry Tropics Community Support Volunteer Local natural resource management organisation NQ Dry Tropics held a 'Hands on Habitats' Professional Development activity at the university's Townsville campus to showcase current sustainability projects being carried out on campus. Primarily directed at professionals working within school communities, the activity gave participants the opportunity to listen to and present questions about sustainability related ideas to the James Cook University groundspersons. The campus groundspersons have a wealth of knowledge about local flora and fauna due to a number of them working at the university for multiple decades. The activity allowed the groundspersons to share their skills and knowledge with members of the wider school community. Thirty participants attended from eight schools across the dry tropics region, including groundspersons, teachers, school principals and community group representatives. After a BBQ lunch and introduction to the event by NQ Dry Tropics, attendees had the chance to see, hear and ask about the university's current sustainability projects.

These projects included the new planter boxes and Bio-Regen system, campus weed and irrigation management, as well as cyclone preparation and were all part of a bus tour of the campus. TropEco's Adam Connell described it as “such a successful day, bringing a great group of people along. Hopefully we can do more of this in the future.” Participation within the Professional Development activity is already showing positive results, with the installation of wicking beds within Bluewater State School as a student based biodiversity learning program. To learn more about NQ Dry Tropics and how you can benefit from environmental volunteering visit: Web:

Facebook – Volunteering Dry Tropics: TropEco, James Cook University, Tropical Queensland, Australia


TropEco News - Ninth Edition  
TropEco News - Ninth Edition  

Stay up to date with all things sustainable at James Cook University with the TropEco News, published quarterly.