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Welcome to our new Honours student - Natalie McLeod!

In this post our new Honours student, Natalie McLeod, will introduce herself and share what brought her to research with our team!

"Growing up barefoot and salty in the Northern Rivers of NSW, I’ve always felt a deep connection to the natural world and the unique native flora and fauna surrounding me. The desire to protect and care for our wildlife is what led me to first pursue a career in veterinary nursing. But the number of sick, injured and orphaned individuals admitted to hospital due to human impacts pushed me to further study ecology and conservation and try to make a difference at the population scale."

"I began my Bachelor of Environmental Science at Griffith University on the Gold Coast in 2018. I tried my hand at everything throughout my studies, interning with a waste and sustainability NGO in northern India, volunteering on citizen science and invasive species management programs with a local environmental NFP, shadowing an ecological consultant as an industry mentee, wildlife keeping at a QPWS sanctuary, and assisting in field research projects for the Griffith Disease Ecology Group."

"In my final year, I swapped the sand and surf for the red dirt of the outback. My capstone research project examined bird-habitat associations in the semi-arid Mulga Lands of south-west QLD. I also completed work placement with the City of Gold Coast Priority Species Management Team, where I evaluated the impact of a community education campaign responsible pet ownership in koala habitat areas."

"This led to a graduate role as a wildlife vet nurse and research assistant at the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, where I now split my time between caring for a wide variety of native species in hospital and radio-tracking koalas in the field for our chlamydia vaccine research program. When I’m not busy craning my neck searching for a fuzzy koala bum in a tree, you’ll find me tucked up in bed with a good book and a cup of tea."

"I’ve been incredibly fortunate to land a field and desktop-based honours project with the frog research team, in partnership QPWS. I’ll be investigating the call phenology and population ecology of the critically endangered Kroombit Tinker Frog. I’m looking forward to working in the lush rainforests of central QLD, learning more about bioacoustics monitoring and modelling with an enormous dataset from more than a decade of recordings. Fingers crossed that I get lucky and actually see one of the cryptic little dudes in the wild!"

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