Local wildlife advocate Janine has had a passion for the region's abundant nature and it's animals, especially marine turtles, ever since she was a child.
In fact, she began volunteering at Mon Repos in the '70s before later becoming a senior technical officer with the Aquatic Threatened Species Program for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
It's a job that sees Janine travel from the Bundaberg Region's coastline to Heron Island and even to Capricornia Cays National Park where she works on the conservation efforts of marine turtles.
She said Mon Repos was where her passion for the majestic creatures began after becoming aware of their life cycle while growing up in the Bundaberg Region.
“My dad would take us up and down the beach to observe turtles coming ashore to lay, followed by watching hatchlings emerge months later—so this was etched into my being from a very young age,” she said.
“In 1976 I started as a volunteer monitoring turtles on the local beaches, including Mon Repos, and continued to return to volunteer during the season, when I moved away for work.
“After 15 years working as a Veterinary Nurse, I then accepted various temporary positions with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service before being successful in obtaining my permanent position and here I am, working in some outstanding places such as Mon Repos Conservation Park and Heron Island in the Capricornia Cays National Park.”
Janine has probably had more sand in her pockets than the average person— she said it comes with the territory when working with marine turtles.
And while she loves her time spent at Mon Repos, her role has taken her on many journeys throughout Australia and the world.
“Probably the most special part of my career has been working alongside the Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers in Cape York,” Janine said.
“Cape York is a very special place and I worked with Indigenous Rangers on turtle conservation programs at Flinders beach and Aurukun.
“To even try and start to appreciate country, you need to take your shoes off and feel the country underfoot!
“My involvement with marine turtles has also allowed me to work in other places such as Barbados and US Virgin Islands.”
Janine said not only do the turtles she works with provide her with plenty of job satisfaction, it was also the great people that she got to meet along the way.
“In my current job, being part of a dedicated team of staff and volunteers is inspiring and the work is vital for the survival of threatened species,” she said.