Bookend works because people in a variety of professions donate their time, expertise and resources to make it happen. These people range from biologists to engineers to artists to designers to editors to writers to builders to photographers to IT experts and more. These people contribute to Bookend in a wide range of ways. The following people just form the core group who help focus these efforts across the program.
Niall needs to put his hand up for starting this whole Bookend business in the first place. Niall has a strong background in threatened species and environmental management, gained through extensive work in both government and the private sector. This has included on-ground fieldwork and the development of environmental policy and legislation, including work with threatened/endangered fauna, World Heritage Area management, forestry and agricultural land clearing practices, private land reservation and incentive programs, water conservation, and the development of environmental solutions with industry, community groups and land owners.
Niall feels privileged to have worked with some of the species and places he has seen, and is keen to pass that sense of wonder and opportunity to the next generation. In 2008, Niall was awarded the Pride of Australia Medal for Environmental Endeavour in building the Bookend program. Bookend doesn't leave him with much spare time at the moment, but he plans to return to his other interests in writing and publishing when time permits. His wife Vicki and dog Shadow would apparently also like to see more of him - at least until the next big project comes along...
Alastair taught and researched zoology at the University of Tasmania for many years and still likes to be up to his waist in water or mud, finding out about the natural world. Freshwater crayfish, sandhoppers and more recently, birds, have been his great interests, but Tasmania is such a diverse place with so many interesting animals that he has supervised all sorts of projects during his career, in habitats from caves to saltmarshes. Tasmania provides wonderful opportunities for getting into the bush to study animals and he has always enjoyed taking students on field courses and excursions.
Alastair came to Tasmania in 1972, after completing his PhD at Exeter University in the UK. As well as working in Tasmania he has spent periods of study leave in Hawai’i, Scotland, the US, Canada and South Africa. He has published many scientific papers and reports, and contributed chapters to books on crayfish and other crustaceans, and recently an article about Tasmania to an international encyclopedia on islands. Since retiring in 2007 he has travelled to some interesting places, including Iceland, Finland, Hungary and Texas, mostly in pursuit of birds and other wildlife.
Alastair brings a grey beard to the Bookend Team, and occasionally mature reflection. Through the Bookend Trust he looks forward to encouraging many students to get involved in environmental research and enjoy the same sorts of excitement and challenges that he has had
Education Officer and Expedition Class
The adventurer/educator behind Expedition Class, Andrew Hughes, is busy developing innovative ways to engage students in learning from beyond the classroom. He believes there is room in the world for at least one teacher with a license to take extraordinary (but always calculated!) risks in the name of education. The job assigned to him is fairly simple; plan and execute audacious expeditions, communicate and share the wonders of the ensuing adventures online, and visit schools to tell wildly exaggerated tales before and after. If it sounds as though he wrote his own job description that’s because he did.
Andrew has qualifications in earth science and teaching from UTAS and once worked in a supermarket selling tiger prawns and chicken thighs. Somewhere along the way an underground mining job earned just enough money to start an ill-fated wilderness guiding business called Mad Wombat Guides. When inspiration strikes, he writes for outdoor magazines and enjoys speaking to strangers for money, and sometimes for free. As a result of his hard work on Expedition Class, Project Skullbone and other Bookend student projects, Andrew was named the 2013 Tasmanian Australian of the Year.
Jen joins Bookend as a well known and highly respected figure from the Tasmanian Arts and Festival world, bringing skills in large project management, from logistics to communication and outreach. Jen was trained at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and was the Operations Manager for Ten Days on the Island, Tasmania’s premier state-wide international arts festival, from 2008-2013. This involved delivering 256 public events in 110 venues across 52 towns state-wide within a ten day period for the bi-ennial Festival. Planning for each Festival was conducted over a two year period, including the process of engaging international acts and planning finely scheduled transportation for the artists and major stage sets to, from and within Tasmania.
Her role with Bookend involves oversight of the timelines, logistics and coordination of all of Bookend’s outreach programs. This includes both school (primary to year 12) and public events, and the need to maintain clear quality, consistency and clarity across the brand. She is the chief liaison point between the Bookend program and contributing scientific experts and organisations, and also oversees the time management of staff filming, editing and delivering multimedia output, and the timely acquittal and reporting of grant funds.
Reg is a freshwater ecologist at the University of Tasmania. Strangely she loves playing with data and mathematical models but only when there are aquatic invertebrates involved. Her research interests include community ecology and investigating management actions for mitigating the impacts of land-use and climate change on the ecology of Tasmanian rivers. However, if you ask her what she is really passionate about she will tell you - it's teaching zoology!
Reg teaches in a number of university units including general biology of animals and freshwater ecology. She loves introducing students to the weird and wonderful invertebrates that can be found in marine and freshwater environments and helping students to discover and understand the ecological processes that influence biodiversity. She has received two teaching merit awards in recognition of her efforts.Reg kindly donates her time to help support Bookend's efforts to reach and inspire an ever wider range of students about the world around them.
Felicity (Flick) Wilkinson
Flick is a born and bred Tasmanian, having descended from the second fleet that landed in Tasmania in the 1800’s she is from convict stock but we don’t hold that against her. She has traveled widely and lived abroad for many years, but she is now proud to call her land of birth home.
Flick is a culture glutton and loves attending music and art events, she is often found either wandering in the Tasmanian bushland, tapping her toes at a local music gig, or at home knitting or baking up a storm.
Flick works in administration at the University of Tasmania, within the science faculty. Tasmania has many unique animals and plants not found anywhere else in the world making it a fascinating place to work in the field of science and research. Flick also volunteers her time and organisational skills to Bookend, above and beyond the call of duty!