I have lived in the Gympie region for 9 years and have worked in various professional industries including accounting, the solar industry, plumbing, and irrigation. I have always loved the outdoors and would regularly spend my weekends as a kid camping in the great outdoors where my father would teach me about bush survival. Being on the land is second nature to me and I hope to grow my own produce patch so that my Husband and I can become self-sufficient. I am also an extremely devoted animal lover and an active staff member of an animal rescue group.
I am truly excited to be apart of the Gympie Landcare team and am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead. My role is to oversee the general administrative processes of the organisation and to create further awareness about landcare in the Gympie community through events and marketing.
Regula Waser – Accounts Officer
My husband Danny and I moved from Switzerland to Kununurra (Kimberley) in 1988 where we were involved in a station south of El Questro. The aim was to bring the badly overgrazed and understocked area back to life with the principles of Allan Savory. Our business partner and his wife moved out to the station and have fantastic results – check out their website here.
We established a business in town where we brought up our four children. I worked in Kununurra as a bookkeeper for 20 years. Many great adventures (plane crash, helicopter crash, crocodile attack) later, I decided that it was time to move on. My husband suggested I should spend a couple of wet seasons to find the perfect place I wanted to live and I took off in my little car all by myself, driving down the west coast, across the Nullarbor, up the east coast and back to Kununurra. When I told him that I found the perfect spot, he believed me and we packed up and moved to Goomboorian where we have a 30 acre farm. We continuously plant new trees, have a vegetable garden and a growing orchard and some chooks and absolutely love the life! As a life member of Landcare I saw the position of Finance Officer advertised in the newsletter, applied for it and have started to work for Landcare at the beginning of November. I hope it will be a long and mutually satisfying arrangement!
Rhiaan Ashton – Education & Events Coordinator
I moved to the Gympie region in 2012 and feel so lucky to live in a place where I am surrounded by such beautiful natural environments. My family and I have a small hobby farm located just out of town with chickens, ducks, sheep, a pig and even a miniature horse! My fiancé and I are avid gardeners and have made a beautiful vegetable garden at home, which our children just love going and picking their fresh food from. I have always had a passion for conservation and the environment and strongly believe that the Earth will treat us in the way that we treat it.
I joined the team at Gympie Landcare in June 2019 and am extremely excited about my role as Events & Education Coordinator, as I am constantly trying to find interesting new workshops and presenters to showcase to our local community. I have also spent significant time designing a Junior Landcare program for children in the Gympie region and I am looking forward to playing an active role in educating our future generations of Land carers.
Aroha Kitson – Administration Assistant
I have always loved nature – and working for Landcare gives me the opportunity to work in an environment where I can contribute to our own local nature and ecosystems.
I started at Landcare as a volunteer and am now working part time as an assistant, supporting all the teams with their administration. I also still occasionally assist with Nursery duties and enjoy the variety and challenges that I encounter each day. I also enjoy being creative and using my skills to create promotional and marketing materials, as well as much more!
It is my passion for Australian native plants and the bush that sparked a change of career into Horticulture 15 years ago. In 2017, my husband and I left Brisbane and kept driving north looking for the quiet country life. We settled in the Gympie region on three acres with a beautiful view. In my horticultural career I have worked in and managed retail and wholesale nurseries, with exotic and native plants. I jumped at the chance to work for Gympie Landcare to fulfil my goal to work with, learn more and educate others on local native species, as I believe in the conservation of our native flora and the benefits of its’ use in all landscaping environments.
I am a firm advocate for soil health and have an organic approach to pest and disease management. When I am not gardening, I am identifying plants, insects, reptiles and birds and it is my goal to turn our grass paddock into a natural habitat for Australian fauna, as well as to produce as much of my own fruit and vegetables as possible.
Lucas Reid – Stock Control Coordinator & WHS Representative
Growing up in an urban environment in Edgecliff, Sydney, I lived near a small creek with parklands and natural areas surrounded by urban sprawl. This small park nurtured a love for plants and a thirst for knowledge about the natural world.
As a Survey Technician I worked on many sites from underground road tunnels, sewerage outfall tunnels, high rise construction, bridges and green field subdivisions. This work made me realise that our urban sprawl is damaging our environment, sometimes unnecessarily. After years of watching the destruction of large habitat trees and waterways my wife and I decided to make the big step to leave the city and live a more sustainable existence in the country. We finally ended up settling on a fertile mountain side block and threw ourselves into building a house and cleaning up an enormous weed infestation in our gully. I quickly realised that I needed to educate myself on best practice and headed off to TAFE to learn Horticulture and Diploma, Conservation and Land Management.
10 years on we now have a comfortable country house, 2 children, 2 dogs, 3 horses, chooks, guinea pigs, cattle and the numbers keep growing. Our food production areas are now far larger than I ever expected to achieve.
My passion for conservation, bush regeneration and nursery work has led me to the Landcare movement, where I have an awesome opportunity to share what I have learned with the community and continue my education in the NRM sector. I have recently completed stage 1 planting of 3000 tube stock at home grown in my own nursery from locally collected seed and plan to plant a further 10,000 by 2025. I hope I can leave my children a rainforest that their children will play in as I did as a child.
I have lived in the Gympie region for over 5 years and have previously had work experience at the Winton Age of Dinosaurs Museum. I have always loved the outdoors and since I was 7 I have wanted to work as a conservationist, helping people work with nature, rehabilitating ecosystems and advocating for our unique biodiversity. I participate in Scouts and love going on hikes, bushwalks and anything else adventurous that involves being out amongst the nature. I love having the opportunity to work with Gympie Landcare and learn about the unique ecosystems of the region and the local native plants. I am both privileged and excited to be able to help customers to rehabilitate their land and incorporate native plants into their properties.
My family and I moved from a small outback town to the Gympie region around about a year ago. Moving to Gympie has let me experience growing and caring for plants that I was unable to experience before moving. My family and I moved out towards Curra, living on our own slight little slice of life. Living in a different area allowed us to start growing our own plants and vegetables. Taking the interest in learning how to grow our own food, I ended up volunteering at Gympie Landcare, where I was able to experience the way the organisation works and what it’s ideals and goals are.
I am now working part time as a Propagation Assistant, helping the volunteers and staff with planting and seeding the tube stock, while also keeping the plants well presented for the front of the store. I have also begun working towards a Certificate II in Horticulture while working alongside the staff at Gympie Landcare. I look forward to working alongside the Gympie Landcare team for many months to come.
I am a motivated environmental scientist with a particular interest in ecological assessments and environmental conservation and management. I have a strong interest in ecological conservation, particularly on how the modification or urbanisation of natural ecosystems affects its functioning. My education and research background has largely focused on how urban infrastructure has impacted the composition and distribution of fauna, both in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and I am keen to implement this knowledge and skills within the Gympie Landcare CLS team.
If you are looking for a professional ecologist to assess your property, we can provide reports through our CLS services and I will be more than happy to assist you with this.
Yvonne Hennell – Bio-Control Manager
I was looking for a complete change from my career in insurance when I moved to Gympie a few years ago. I came to Landcare as a volunteer and initially worked in the office. When a vacancy came up in Bio-Control I was immediately attracted because it was so different to anything I had ever done before and I had the opportunity to be outside doing physical work. It was a steep learning curve but two and a half years later I know I made the right choice. I work with a great team where I continually learn. My job involves the breeding of the Tingid bug, the Jewel beetle and the Madeira beetle to help deal with cats claw creeper and the Madeira vine. My ultimate aim is the eradication of cats claw, and while this may not be possible, I am always searching for new ideas and looking for new approaches. I am currently experimenting with the leaf tying moth but it is only early days.
Nina Drinkwater – Bio-Control Assistant
25 years ago I left the big smoke in search of a lifestyle more in touch with nature. I stopped on the Cooloola Coast, joined the local bush regeneration group and settled down to do an Assoc. Degree in Applied Science. I have always had an interest in the ecological workings of natural environments and as my studies and field experience progressed I became passionate in understanding the factors that provide for more suitable resource use. I have worked in the conservation industry in many roles from educator and project coordinator to field officer.
I have a history of roles in flora and fauna management in natural and culturally significant environments, and therefore bring a broad knowledge base to the Landcare team. I am now undertaking a new area of interest and training within the Bio-Control team at Gympie Landcare and look forward to contributing my land management experience to the local community in our war on invasive species. My mantra for life in the modern world is “let’s look after our own backyard”.