Barron River YCA survey

Surveying for presence of yellow crazy ants along the northeast shore of the Barron River between Russett Park and the weir at Kuranda started in mid-November and finished in early December. The good news is that no yellow crazy ants were detected! You will see from the survey map below some areas along the river were not surveyed due to unreachable landholders and time running short. Another survey will occur next year to fill in those gaps.

The success of the lure survey was a team effort coordinated by the Wet Tropic’s Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program with the Djabugay Bulmba Rangers and the Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce.

In regard to the taskforce effort, the feedback from field manager Jochem van der Reijden said,

“I just wanted to say thanks to you and the Kuranda Taskforce Volunteers for helping the YCA teams by engaging the landholders and providing contact details for landholders. It has greatly assisted us in accessing the banks of the Barron River and look for YCA.”

Well done Bulmba Rangers and thank you taskforce members, Willem, Bernd, Tracy, Nader and Mark for door knocking Black Mountain road with me. It looks like we did a great job!

Recent Events

Last month the taskforce successfully delivered two yellow crazy ant information sessions at Edge Hill and Whitfield pocket gardens. We shared our knowledge about yellow crazy ants to fresh eyes and ears. Fifteen people overall showed up making the events worthwhile. Demonstrating the lure survey was the best bit and we hope to continue to work with the council’s volunteer program next year and visit other groups.

We celebrated Tropical Tree Day with Skyrail, Cairns Regional Council and Pacific Toyota in Edmonton on the 1st of Dec. The taskforce had a stall, sold raffle tickets for our t-shirt fundraiser and planted trees. Overall, 600+ trees were planted and we made $67 in sold raffle tickets, which is not a bad effort considering hot and itchy conditions.

I’d like to thank taskforce members, Timothy Brown, Bernd Seidl for helping with the pockets garden YCA talks; and Mark Palmer, Fabian Hudson and Tim Brown for being part of Tropical Tree Day event in Edmonton. You guys rocked it!

Whitfield Pocket Garden's yellow crazy ant information session

Selling raffle tickets and planting trees at Tropical Tree Day in Edmonton with (from left) Fabian, myself, Mark and Tim.

T-shirt Raffle Fundraiser

A raffle was set up to raise funds to buy fifty t-shirts for our taskforce members and give ticket holders a chance to win great prizes. Thanks to our t-shirt design competition winner, Kali Harriss we have a design and tagline worth showcasing, the t-shirt will be revealed soon.

Raffle tickets are selling for $2 for one and three for $5. If you would like to support the taskforce with a donation and a chance to win a prize, contact Ciara at coordinator@communitytaskforce.org.au

Last month the first raffle ticket was sold at Kuranda Envirocare on the 18th of November, today we have raised $711 so far!! What an incredible effort! I am blown away by the generosity of our Cairns community and our allies selling raffle tickets at workplaces, to neighbours, Christmas parties, tree planting events and to their families and friends. I am so grateful for the support received.

None of this would’ve happened without the generosity of our local tourism operators; Reef Magic, SNUBA Down Under, Compass Cruises and local wine merchant Frank Dangelico for their generous prize donations. Altogether, the total prize value is worth $2,036. Prizes will be drawn before the 18th March 2020 with seven prizes up for grabs.

If you are considering going to the Great Barrier Reef spend your money at these places:
Reef Magic and Big Cat Green Island Cruises, they offer 30% discount for locals and you can experience SNUBA Diving or Power Snorkeling from these two cruises.
Compass Cruises, a locally owned and family operated, they offer the best value for money in Cairns for a reef day trip.

Online Survey Results

Thank you to those who submitted an online survey sent out a few months ago. The results are in, 10% of you responded which apparently is good for an online survey yay!

The results from the first question showed confusion about what constitutes a taskforce member. The definition I use to determine a taskforce member is a person who shows up to a taskforce related event they are automatically a taskforce member. The rest want to be kept informed.

Where you live came up as varied. There was still a few Kuranda residents but a lot of you are living in the Cairns region.

The most favoured response as to why you would attend a taskforce event is because you like making a difference and contributing to your community.

And the type of event that gets you out of the house was being in the field looking for ants.

You gave some great feedback about how I can make the events better and offered your suggestions. So thank you, your feedback is considered and I’ll ensure our events are weekend field activities searching for ants and informed guest speakers.

Upcoming Events

Invasive Ant Surveillance Blitz

The next taskforce event will be in January 2020 on the weekend of the 18th and 19th. We will be teaming up with the National Electric Ant Eradication Program for an invasive ant surveillance blitz! The blitz will be in the Kuranda area and will most certainly involve morning tea. Details are still coming together. This event will be the first on-ground taskforce activity working with the team from Electric Ants.

Below from the left is a picture of an electric ant at 1mm scale and a picture of a yellow crazy ant at 4mm scale. Electric ants are tiny.

Invasive Species and Climate Change Forum

The next event is in February 2020. It will be a big one. The Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce in partnership with James Cook University TESS Seminars will hold a forum on invasive species and climate change. It will be a 2hr event at JCU’s Crowther Theatre on the 26th Feb 2020, 4pm – 6pm. The date is still tentative. We have an excellent line up of expert scientists and speakers, more details will be coming soon.

This event will launch us into the new year by celebrating our taskforce members, drawing the raffle and hopefully, our t-shirts will arrive ready to give to our members.

Watch this space!

On a final note

Thank you for being a subscriber to the Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce. You have watched us change, grow and deliver events to our members and the public throughout the year. Whether you are a taskforce member or not I appreciate your time and interest in being engaged with us.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and I will see you in the new year to start the new decade!

Warmest wishes,

Ciara xx

Ciara Bridgland

Ciara Bridgland

Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce Coordinator

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