• Providing a safe nesting area for flatback turtles and other species, including threatened birds, with ongoing monitoring.
    • Conducting surveys to identify and document birdlife.
    • Building the island’s resilience with weed removal, ecological burns, and threatened species management plans with the support of a Department of Environment and Science Community Sustainability Action grant.
    • Working with the Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation to develop a two ways land management plan for the island and jointly deliver education and threatened species outcomes as part of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Reef Islands Initiative.
    • Providing exciting opportunities for eco-volunteering (weed removal and beach clean-ups), participation in turtle research, cross-cultural experiences with Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation, as well as corporate retreats with a difference.
    • Transforming the island into a thrilling outdoor classroom where school students learn alongside professional scientists.

    • The island provides nesting habitat for around 25-30% of the eastern Queensland flatback turtle population.
    • Avoid Island flatback turtles lay close to 10,000 eggs each nesting season, with an 80 to 90% hatching success rate thanks to the protected environment.
    • Avoid Island provides the only nesting beaches that are free from light pollution and predators. This means the hatchlings at Avoid Island have the best chance of survival before they reach the ocean.
    • After nine seasons, researchers have tagged most turtles that return every year to nest, with new females arriving every year.
    • Volunteers have powered a massive reduction in the extent and density of invasive weeds over seven hectares of the island – preserving prime turtle nesting habitat and protecting a precious ecosystem. Target weeds included the invasive Mossman River grass (Cenchrus echinatus) and lantana (Lantana camara).
    • Bird surveys on the island have documented almost 90 species of birds from a range of unique ecological guilds, including the woodland bird community, a diverse array of frugivorous rainforest pigeons and doves, and migratory shore birds.
    “We have one major goal – looking after Country. Everything comes off that and is connected to that. There is so much knowledge to be shared from both sides – western science and traditional science.”

    Samarla Deshong, Director, Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation

    • Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation
    • Great Barrier Reef Foundation
    • Queensland Department of Environment and Science
    • Mackay and District Turtle Watch
    • BirdLife Mackay
    • Griffith University
    • University of Queensland
    • Wonder of Science

  • Action & Insight

    Walking the island together

    In November last year, Traditional Owner Samarla Deshong spent a week on Avoid Island with QTFN’s Dr Renee Rossini. Samarla and Renee spent time walking the island, which is on Koinmerburra saltwater country, identifying plants and setting up direct seeding experiments across the island. Samarla shared her knowledge of traditional uses of the plants, bush […]

    Read more

    Eradication of invasive weeds

    In 2020, QTFN wrapped up a three-year weed and marine debris clean-up project supported by a Queensland Department of Environment and Science Community Sustainability Action grant. With the assistance of volunteers, we have reduced the presence of the invasive Mossman River grass (Cenchrus echinatus) year-on-year, ending the program with a 99 per cent reduction in […]

    Read more

    Monitoring island birdlife

    Avoid Island’s unique combination of fruit-rich coastal scrub, open eucalypt woodland, mangrove and tidal flats, provides habitat for an estimated 84 species of migratory and resident birds. In the last half of 2020, experts from the Mackay chapter of BirdLife and the Queensland Wader study group joined us on the island to document bird diversity. […]

    Read more

  • Providing a safe nesting area for flatback turtles and other species, including threatened birds, with ongoing monitoring.
  • Conducting surveys to identify and document birdlife.
  • Building the island’s resilience with weed removal, ecological burns, and threatened species management plans with the support of a Department of Environment and Science Community Sustainability Action grant.
  • Working with the Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation to develop a two ways land management plan for the island and jointly deliver education and threatened species outcomes as part of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Reef Islands Initiative.
  • Providing exciting opportunities for eco-volunteering (weed removal and beach clean-ups), participation in turtle research, cross-cultural experiences with Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation, as well as corporate retreats with a difference.
  • Transforming the island into a thrilling outdoor classroom where school students learn alongside professional scientists.

  • The island provides nesting habitat for around 25-30% of the eastern Queensland flatback turtle population.
  • Avoid Island flatback turtles lay close to 10,000 eggs each nesting season, with an 80 to 90% hatching success rate thanks to the protected environment.
  • Avoid Island provides the only nesting beaches that are free from light pollution and predators. This means the hatchlings at Avoid Island have the best chance of survival before they reach the ocean.
  • After nine seasons, researchers have tagged most turtles that return every year to nest, with new females arriving every year.
  • Volunteers have powered a massive reduction in the extent and density of invasive weeds over seven hectares of the island – preserving prime turtle nesting habitat and protecting a precious ecosystem. Target weeds included the invasive Mossman River grass (Cenchrus echinatus) and lantana (Lantana camara).
  • Bird surveys on the island have documented almost 90 species of birds from a range of unique ecological guilds, including the woodland bird community, a diverse array of frugivorous rainforest pigeons and doves, and migratory shore birds.
“We have one major goal – looking after Country. Everything comes off that and is connected to that. There is so much knowledge to be shared from both sides – western science and traditional science.”

Samarla Deshong, Director, Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation

  • Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation
  • Great Barrier Reef Foundation
  • Queensland Department of Environment and Science
  • Mackay and District Turtle Watch
  • BirdLife Mackay
  • Griffith University
  • University of Queensland
  • Wonder of Science

Action & Insight

Walking the island together

In November last year, Traditional Owner Samarla Deshong spent a week on Avoid Island with QTFN’s Dr Renee Rossini. Samarla and Renee spent time walking the island, which is on Koinmerburra saltwater country, identifying plants and setting up direct seeding experiments across the island. Samarla shared her knowledge of traditional uses of the plants, bush […]

Read more

Eradication of invasive weeds

In 2020, QTFN wrapped up a three-year weed and marine debris clean-up project supported by a Queensland Department of Environment and Science Community Sustainability Action grant. With the assistance of volunteers, we have reduced the presence of the invasive Mossman River grass (Cenchrus echinatus) year-on-year, ending the program with a 99 per cent reduction in […]

Read more

Monitoring island birdlife

Avoid Island’s unique combination of fruit-rich coastal scrub, open eucalypt woodland, mangrove and tidal flats, provides habitat for an estimated 84 species of migratory and resident birds. In the last half of 2020, experts from the Mackay chapter of BirdLife and the Queensland Wader study group joined us on the island to document bird diversity. […]

Read more