Author, snake-catcher, committee president, manager of Landcare sites. These are just some of the hats Greg Calvert wears in his quest to make the environment a better place for all of us.
“Seeing degraded landscapes suffering from long-term neglect I started working on revegetating the riverbank behind my parents’ house,” Greg said.
“Since then I’ve volunteered with many groups including the North Queensland Herpetological Society, Society for Growing Australian Plants and Townsville Snake Catchers.”
Greg was involved with Landcare from its inception as the Tropical Urban Production and Landcare Group that later merged with another to become the Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare Inc. 18 years on, he has served on the committees in various roles including as president of the Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare Inc.
“The work we do will leave behind a legacy that will endure for far longer than any of us. I like to think that the trees I plant will be appreciated by generations of people not yet born, “Greg said.
“It’s a quiet sort of work, very much out of the spotlight, a few hours on weekends, sometimes an hour after work. Whenever I get disheartened, I look back at photos and see how far we have come. I enjoy the company and camaraderie of like-minded people who work alongside towards a common goal.”
“Being able to inspire and encourage others to follow a similar path is probably the biggest positive impact I’ve ever had.”
Finding and completely eradicating several species of weeds before they were able to get established in Townsville has been one of the many highlights of Greg’s work.
He is most proud of co-authoring “Rare and Threatened plants of the Townsville-Thuringowa Region” for Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare in 1995, his first publication.
Greg said the skills and experience he has developed as a volunteer have helped immensely in his career as a botanist and ecologist. “I’ve met many friends along the way, and have enjoyed so many trips out bush collecting seeds, growing them, planting them and maintaining them.”
“In the high stress life of a PhD student and consultant, it’s nice to have somewhere I can burn off a bit of frustration chopping out weeds and getting away from the hustle and bustle to be among the forest I helped plant and grow.
It is very soothing, settling and calming to be in a place where you can reflect on what’s going on around you, shaded by a whole forest, where you helped bring life to every one of those tall trees. I always know that even if I dropped dead tomorrow, I’d leave behind something positive.”