CLARE HAWKINSThe Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship to design enduring methods that engage nature lovers to monitor wildlife population sizes and needs - USA, Hungary, UK
British-born, I carried out my Ph.D. on the fossa, an arboreal carnivorous mammal now most famous for its role in the movie Madagascar. The spotted-tailed quoll has a very similar lifestyle, and this brought me to Tasmania in 2001 to study its habitat requirements. I subsequently joined the State Government, initially with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program – I spent four years monitoring the impact and distribution of Devil Facial Tumour Disease. I’m now Senior Zoologist for the Threatened Species Section, and also Honorary Associate at the University of Tasmania’s School of Zoology.
When not occupied with threatened species, I’m often singing in a choir – the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Chorus or the Allegri Ensemble. My support network includes my marine-biologist-turned-highschool-teacher husband and two indoor cats. Our nine bantam chickens are particularly helpful when I’m pondering ideas, and assist with intermittent gardening efforts.
With the aid of my Churchill Fellowship, I’m exploring novel approaches to meet the challenges of monitoring and managing Tasmania’s threatened species: from quolls and eagles to skinks and burrowing crayfish. I’m specifically focussing on developing bomb-proof, enduring citizen science study designs for long term population monitoring. I want to design surveys that are fun for the public to do while also delivering reliable, useful information.