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
Bookend’s own multimedia producer, Ninna was one of the first scholarship students. Her role is to create short docos and other web-based materials that engage students in the stories of people working to create environmental solutions. She made Sharks, Devils and You, a half-hour documentary that explores a range of environmental issues through people employed in their solutions, and manages all environmental storytelling projects for Bookend Trust.
Ninna went to a ‘weird’ (Steiner) School which explains a few things. She studied Spanish, Political Science, History and Literature as an undergrad, living in Chile on exchange to top it off. She travelled throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia and was known to sell miniature paper kites to tourists in Barcelona, stealthily eluding the Men in Khaki. Despite the vast career opportunities provided by an Arts degree Ninna always had an itch to be involved in journalism, just not the tabloid kind, and had a good scratch when she did a Graduate Diploma at UTAS.
From a hectic city on the Big Island, Ninna knew she was home when she came to Tassie at the age of eighteen, having tramped around Australia’s National Parks for eight months. She made the move ten years later and laughs if people in Sydney ask when she’ll return. She cuts a dangerous figure on the dance-floor, and can usually be found in front of the speakers. She also occasionally plays jigs and reels on the fiddle, and drinks tea, not coffee.
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 qualification s in earth sc ience and teaching from UTAS and once worked in a supermarket selling tiger prawns an d 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 (rarely) he writes for outdoor magazines and enjoys speaking to strangers for money, and sometimes for free.
Cameraman, Editor and Gear Supervisor
In his time with Bookend, Pete has travelled from Lord Howe Island to Antarctica. We've asked him to write a short bio on himself, but as yet he's still to deliver. We're open to submissions from anyone else who would like to write (or invent) Pete's history. In the meantime, you can read about Pete's first experiences with Bookend in our December 2011 newsletter.