Rebecca Condon of Logan City Council

Interview

Senior Environmental Services Officer

City of Logan

Bec Condon saunters along the boardwalk through Daisy Hill Conservation Park offering a bright smile and greeting to anyone she passes. The popular park is a favourite for Bec to do walks and bring the community to, with accessible options for different abilities and age groups. She points to branches propped up around the trees like tepee frames.

“The rangers leave sticks and branches out on purpose and the kids drag them around from tree to tree and build cubby houses. I bring my five-year-old here. The kids don’t need a playground. It’s so good for their learning and for their connection to country.”

Bec is a Senior Environmental Services Officer with the Logan City Council and is passionate about preserving the natural environment and protected flora and fauna species in the City of Logan.

“We did some school education work with some year three and four’s down at Berrinba Wetlands last week. Two hundred kids across two days. The teachers said to me on a number of occasions that the kids who don’t learn well in the classroom, absolutely thrive in the outdoors. I got a tray of water out of the wetlands and we looked for water bugs in there. They drew what they saw and labelled them. The kids just loved it. It’s great to see young people thrive and it’s also so important for that next generation to continue connecting to and looking after natural areas, and having a sense of custodianship,” Bec enthuses.

Rebecca Condon

Growing up, Bec herself always had a love for being outside.

“I was always happier outside. We’d go down every afternoon after school to the local creek. I always wanted to be outside. I felt confined living in a little suburban block.”

Leaving school before finishing year 10, Bec went to work in retail and hospitality for 10 years. When her boss suggested putting her through some hospitality courses to become certified for management roles, she started thinking about study again and what options might be open to her beyond hospitality.

“I went back to study at the age of 25. At TAFE I completed year 10 in six months, then 11 and 12 over a year. At the end of that year I decided I wanted to do a Bachelor of Science at uni. But I had to go back to TAFE for another year to do Chemistry and Maths B, because I hadn’t chosen the right subjects.”

Bec entered an advanced study program as part of a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland, which offered her opportunities to head over to Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island), and out west to places like Blackall. Bec graduated with Ecology and Zoology majors.

“I was fully on my purpose then,” Bec smiles recalling the moment she knew she was headed in the right vocational direction.

Bec sums up her life purpose in three words. Country, connection and community.

“I love being with people, talking to people, meeting new people and getting them out on country, connecting with the land and also with themselves.”

Her first job after uni was with an engineering company doing their environment work. Then as a research assistant with the University of Queensland, Bec went on to work out west at Charleville on a koala research project.

“That was a year of camping basically. Spotlighting for koalas at night and searching for koala poo during the day. The locals in Charleville recognised me pretty quickly as the ‘koala poo lady’,” she laughs.

Koala scratch marks on a tree

Bec has been with Logan City Council now for eleven years. Logan has some of the most accessible bushland reserves in South East Queensland, most with walking and cycling trails, boardwalks and other facilities and shelters.

As part of the environmental services team, Bec’s focus is on supporting landowners with private land conservation and delivering the environmental grants program.

Logan is one of 13 Council’s in south-east Queensland delivering the nationwide Land for Wildlife program through their Environmental Conservation Partnerships. Nearly 400 people with a hectare or more of bushland, or potential to reinstate bushland, are members of the program in Logan. As a combined effort, these landholders are the custodians of nearly 6,000 hectares of habitat within the City.

“They come to us for advice on how to maintain or protect the vegetation or how to enhance it. If they had a block that horses or cattle had been on, and it was all grazed and compacted underneath, the landowner would ask us how to rehabilitate it and return it to healthy bushland, through revegetation or natural regeneration.

“We go out and do flora and fauna assessments on some properties and chat to landholders about their conservation goals. We hold annual events for members like celebration days, which are great for community building. We provide free trees, nest boxes, other land conservation goodies. We do nest box building and insect hotel building workshops. Some of the people have been in the program for more than two decades.

“And we also work to get the newbies onboard and bring them into the fold. Land management can be really overwhelming. People move out of the city onto bush blocks wanting to escape and then realise they don’t know how to look after it. There’s so much help available through our programs.”

Daisy Hill Koala Conservation Park Entry

For those with smaller blocks Council’s Habitat Connections program is available.

“That’s our backyard program where you can access 15 free trees each year and receive newsletters and other information with tips on how to make your backyard more wildlife friendly.”

Bec gazes around Daisy Hill Conservation Park with fondness.

“This is definitely one of my favourite spaces. Riverdale Park and Logan River Parklands are also really beautiful. We need to use the spaces, take stewardship of them, care for them, connect with them. Look after the place.

“Our goal is to maintain balance between development, green spaces and activating spaces appropriately for the community.”

To get involved in engaging and preserving your local environment in the City of Logan, visit Logan City Council’s Environment Programs for more information.

Author: Jacqueline Bawtree 2021 for Logan City Council.

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