Physical Establishment: Relocation of the remaining collections and associated items from Atherton Herbarium (CSIRO) and Mareeba Herbarium (Qld EPA) completed. Relocation of the great majority of the collections was completed prior to the Operational Date.
Media: 4 print articles, one local TV news story (ATFI launch, March 4),
Outreach: Two seminars to scientific audiences on aspects of the vegetation mapping program, by Eda Addicott and Peter Bannink
Visitors: 192 visitors (including 46 scientific, one group of 22 JCU students, one group of 47 school students, one group of 23 local science teachers and school principals). This does not include the VIP tour and other visitors on ATFI launch day, March 4. Feedback from visitors has been overwhelmingly and enthusiastically positive.
Volunteers: ATH Volunteer Policy established and two volunteers recruited: a 3 rd year JCU student already contributing up to 6 hours per week, and a local semi-professional botanist beginning in the coming week. Several other prospective volunteers have made contact.
Collection Curation: Completed drafts of the ATH Collection Management Manual. Changes to the database (hosted at CSIRO Canberra) to enable secure web access for ATH personnel are well advanced. Two private specialist libraries (tropical biology and fungi respectively) have been donated - one has been partially incorporated/curated. Negotiations are underway regarding donation of a third specialist library (orchids).
Staffing: Two temporary project officers appointed to work on aspects of the Rainforest Key project (see below). Position creation documents for two ongoing positions (Molecular Technician and PA to Director) finalised and now with JCU HR for evaluation. Expect to recruit both positions within two months. Position creation documents for two further positions (Postdoctoral Fellows) well advanced.Elizabeth Brown (BGT).
- Fern module – Ashley Field temporarily appointed to help code fern taxa. Character set established and over 100 of the c. 300 species coded.
- Herb module – Frank Zich progressing with planning and coding. New temporary appointment (Fanie Venter) beginning the coming week to undertake coding.
Eda Addicott and Mark Newton continued in office work related to the updating of vegetation mapping to Regional Ecosystem status for the Cape York bioregion and in the write-up of data and updating of Regional Ecosystems descriptions for the Einasleigh Uplands bioregion.
Gerry Turpin and Mark Newton conducted a two week field trip to southwest Queensland to complete field work on the Tickalara map sheet.
Gary Wilson joined fellow EPA botanists John Thompson and Hans Dillewaard in a three week field trip to finish work on the Westmoreland and Donors Hill map sheets and commence work on the Lawn Hill sheet.
Three of these four sheets will be released this year and constitute 4.5 million hectares of mapping toward the 12 million hectare target for 2007/8.