Michael Tichbon Field Station officially opened
A new Bush Heritage Australia field station in the Fitz-Stirling global biodiversity hotspot has officially ushered in the next phase of conservation science in south west WA.
The $1.1 million Michael Tichbon Field Station was officially opened today at Bush Heritage’s Red Moort Reserve, 130 kilometres by road north east of Albany, WA, between the Stirling Range and the Fitzgerald River National Parks on Noongar country.
The sustainable structure heralds a new era of research collaboration in the heavily fragmented south-west landscape, where Bush Heritage has been working for more than a decade. Bush Heritage owns, or helps manage through partnerships, eight holdings of former farm land totalling around 10,000 hectares across the region.
The new field station will serve as a much needed research base, allowing scientists, ecologists, field staff and volunteers to spend more time on the ground monitoring the incredible fauna and flora present across the Great Southern region.
Bush Heritage Australia’s Chief Executive Gerard O’Neill said the new field station was a tangible symbol of Bush Heritage’s commitment to healthy country, protected forever.
“The Michael Tichbon Field Station will focus our resources on protecting this vulnerable landscape and working with our neighbours to achieve good ecological outcomes,” O’Neill said. “We are here in Great Southern for the long-term.”
O’Neill added that the build would not have been possible without the power of private philanthropy, including notable Australian conservation advocate, Michael Tichbon, who has donated nearly $1 million to Bush Heritage over the past decade.
“Bush Heritage is wholly reliant on donations to carry out our vital conservation work around the country, and we are so grateful to generous donors like Michael who believe in us and support our efforts,” he said.
Michael Tichbon’s donation was supported by a $490,000 Lotterywest grant.
LotteryWest CEO, Susan Hunt PSM, said: “The research and educational projects conducted at the station will help sustain and enhance our unique species and landscape.”
“Lotterywest is committed to protecting our ecosystems for generations to come.”
Other donors including the Middlesex Conservation Farming Club also helped make this project possible.
Field Station facts
- The field station was designed by H+H Architects and constructed by KBuilt Construction, both local Albany companies.
- It is off the grid and features a number of sustainable elements including a solar power system with battery storage, a rainwater collection and reticulation system and composting toilets.
- A highlight of the building is the central meeting area which is designed to allow scientists, ecologists, Traditional Owners and researchers to come together at day’s end and share stores and their passion for the country.
- It is the first purpose designed and built field station in Bush Heritage’s 27-year history
About Red Moort Reserve:
- Moort is the Noongar word for family and Bush Heritage respectfully acknowledges the Noongar Traditional Owners and looks forward to furthering collaborative projects to look after country together.
- Red Moort Reserve forms part of Bush Heritage’s Monjebup Cluster which also includes Monjebup and Monjebup North reserves.
- Bush Heritage acquired the 1,042 hectare Red Moort reserve in 2014.
- Originally known as ’Bob’s Bush’ after its long-time previous owner, the reserve was renamed after a vegetation survey of the new reserve showed it to be a stronghold for the red-flowered Moort eucalypt Eucalyptus vesiculos
- The reserve is home to a number of other priority conservation species including the Malleefowl, both Tammar and Black-Gloved Wallabies and the mallet eucalypt Eucalyptus melanophitra.
- Across its Fitz-Stirling reserves, Bush Heritage helps protect 15 species listed as threatened by the Commonwealth and Western Australian governments.