Queensland Natural History Award 2009 – Barry Jahnke

The Queensland Natural History Award is presented annually by the Queensland Naturalists’ Club Inc. to give recognition to persons who have made outstanding contributions to natural history in Queensland.
The Queensland Natural History Award for 2009 was presented to Barry Jahnke.

Barry Jahnke has made a signilicant contribution to natural history in Queensland in a number of fields. His support of organizations has been magnificent, he has been a President of the Queensland Naturalists’ Club (QNC) twice; of the Society for Growing Australian Plants (Queensland Division) (SGAP) twice and of the Towoomba Field Naturalists Club once. He has served on the councils of these three organizations for over 30 years. He has been a member of Birds Queensland and Birds Australia for over 40 years. In all these organizations he has been very active, giving talks, presenting exhibits and organizing short and long field excursions.

He has a great ability to communicate with people of all ages. He was a Biology teacher at St Peters Lutheran College, Indooroopilly for over 30 years, inspiring many thousands of school children with a greater appreciation of Queensland’s natural history. In 1981 he taught Biology on exchange at The Abbingdon School, Abbingdon, Oxfordshire, England. There his natural history interests came to the fore and he introduced field studies to the course work using the school campus and adjacent Albert Park.

Most of Barry’s activities have been in his private capacity. He hasn’t had the backing of a large institution, like a university or research organization, but he has devoted large amounts of his own time and resources into these activities, supported by colleagues in many institutions. He has great enthusiasm for natural history which has made him an excellent teacher and willing volunteers gather around him for any of his activities.

He is acknowledged as being a true naturalist with a huge and comprehensive knowledge of many aspects of natural history. He has published two book chapters and over 20 scientific papers on a range of topics. In several cases he has investigated the more obscure groups of animals and plants (e.g. Spiders at Enoggera Reservoir and Mosses at Lake Broadwater) of which many naturalists have little knowledge. Some of his major field studies include research projects on:

Masthead Island; Deepwater National Park, Moreton Island and Scawfell Island. He has also published many notes and is a regular contributor of nature notes to the Fassifern Guardian.

He participated in Bird Banding through the Australian Bird and Bat Banding scheme in the 1970’s and 1980’s, largely at Crow’s Nest and later at Brisbane Forest Park. Also at Crow’s Nest, he contributed to the Butterfly Migration studies organised by the Australian Museum in the 1970’s.

Barry has provided photographs for a very successful series of posters on weeds and alternative plantings. He has also provided photographs for the magazines Habitat and Wildlijè Australia, and the books Man groves to Mountains (Revised Edition) and Woodland to Weeds (Second Edition).

Barry has never been held back by a lack of an official position in the research world. He has amassed a very broad knowledge of general natural history — a great example of an amateur naturalist.

Photo: Barry Jahnke (left) receives the Queensland Natural History Award for 2009 from the QNC Past President, Dr Brian Lowry. (Photo: Peter Woodall)

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