Meet 3 of Northern and Yorke's female science stars

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Meet 3 of Northern and Yorke's female science stars

While women remain under-represented in science globally, in our little neck of the woods, more than half of the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board team are women.

Whether they’re directly working in the field, helping to educate people about the environment or involved in the business of science, they all play a role in caring for land, water and nature in our region.

To mark the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Sunday 11 February, let us introduce you to three female science stars in our team.

Meet 3 of Northern and Yorke's female science stars
Janet Moore (front right) with Yorke Peninsula hooded plover volunteers and BirdLife Australia’s Kasun Ekanayake (top left) on a hoodie monitoring expedition.

Janet Moore, Djulda-wawa Badja project manager

During her childhood, Janet spent many nights after school and on weekends at the beach near Moonta. Swimming near the jetty and playing around the rocks.

But it wasn’t until she fell in love with hooded plovers that she began to see the beach as more than a recreational space, but also as habitat for endangered plants and animals.

“That was an eye opener for me,” she said. “We often think of rainforests and exotic faraway places as habitat that needs to be protected, but actually habitat is just down the street.”

As part of her university studies, Janet did an internship on southern Yorke Peninsula, where she was first introduced to hooded plovers, beach-nesting birds that lay their eggs on the sand. She was astounded by their vulnerability. “I definitely remember finding my first hoodie nest and I couldn’t believe how exposed they were. That’s what hooked me,” she said.

These days Janet’s career is still tied to the beach. She’s leading the Djulda-wawa Badja project, which aims to protect and conserve Yorke Peninsula’s coastline. “One of the things I really enjoy about the Djulda-wawa Badja project is that we’re trying to build resilience, to ensure the coast better withstands pressures from climate change and recreation and to keep it as habitat for the animals and plants that belong there.”

Meet 3 of Northern and Yorke's female science stars
Jessica Cavallo collecting plume moths, a biocontrol agent that helps to control the declared horehound pest plant.

Jessica Cavallo, Regional Compliance Officer

Jessica was set on a science path from a young age, having grown up on a farm in the Riverland and spent quality time at Calperum Station, home to 337,000ha of mallee country and stretches of creeks, rivers and wetlands abounding in native flora and fauna.

She studied an environmental science degree at university before taking up a District Officer position in far-flung Ceduna. “It was daunting to move so far away but the experiences and environment on the west coast is something that will always stick with me,” she said.

She is now working with landholders in the Northern and Yorke region on declared plants and animals and water affecting activities. A big part of her job is to ensure all deer on farms are legally fenced, to prevent them from destroying native vegetation, competing with livestock for pasture and becoming a road hazard.

Meet 3 of Northern and Yorke's female science stars
Jennifer Munro (centre) with stakeholders involved in the Barossa Water Allocation Planning consultation.

Jennifer Munro, Planning Officer

While Jennifer has always been fascinated with plants and animals and the environments they live in, she didn’t take a direct route into the field. She studied nursing and then naturopathy before landing on a Science degree with Honours in Biodiversity and Conservation. “I really enjoyed studying science and especially biology at school and thankfully I have been able to grow this interest into a successful and enjoyable career in science,” she said.

It was through her Honours Degree, where she studied the Flinders Ranges scorpion (Urodacus elongatus) in Mt Remarkable National Park, that she met the people and agencies involved in environmental management in the region, which ultimately led to her first job.

Her role now involves working with landholders and the community to improve the health and condition of watercourse environments through activities like fencing, off-creek watering points, revegetation and weed control. “It is very rewarding to visit the beautiful watercourses of the region and work with the land owners to help them care for these important areas,” she said.

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