Science Matters at Binna Burra!

Written by Binna Burra


February 1, 2020

New Science Advisory Group formed at bushfire impacted iconic ecolodge.

The iconic Binna Burra Lodge in the scenic rim hinterland of Australia’s Gold Coast was the first major tourism resort devastated by the 2019/2020 bushfire season in Australia.

‘Six months later, we are still not able to reopen the lodge business due to ongoing challenges to make our single access road secure and safe, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t getting on with the task to #BringBackBinnaBurra’ said Steve Noakes, Chairman of the Board at Binna Burra.
Today, as part of our bushfire recovery process, we welcome two eminent Professors with international credentials and experience in biological and social sciences to lead our new SCIENCE ADVISORY GROUP.

They are:
Professor Roger Kitching AM. A leading rainforest ecologist with special expertise in the biology, conservation and management of invertebrate biodiversity.
Professor Dianne Dredge. Expertise in environmental and urban planning, tourism and community engagement -advocate for transformative tourism and visitor economies that activate mind, bodies and hearts.
The SAG will expand to assist Binna Burra planning and management of leading-edge science, Encouraging researchers to use Binna Burra for their field work, such as national park management, fungi, orchids, wildlife, climate change impacts on rainforests, migratory birds, atmospheric experiments, astrology, human interactions with nature, sustainable development, visitor management, interpretive experiences, indexes for happiness, volunteerism, ecotourism certification and sustainable tourism indicators.

‘Since it’s inception in 1933, Binna Burra Lodge has always had a strong relationship with many Universities and other research institutions from Australia and around the world. Educational group tours for primary, secondary and tertiary level students are a common occurrence at Binna Burra, as well as providing a location for a range of undergraduate, post­graduate and professional research activities’ explained Noakes.
Specialist researchers can cover a wide range of topics from the physical sciences (physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, metallurgy), the biological sciences (zoology, botany, genetics, paleontology, molecular biology, physiology), and the social sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, economics, tourism). We’ll also encourage early career and more experienced researchers to contribute expert presentations to our guests.’

The aims of the science program at Binna Burra are:
1) Convey a message to universities and other research bodies that Binna Burra is a ‘researcher friendly’ enterprise and location
2) To provide opportunities for scholars to present their research activities and findings in conjunction with a collaborative industry partner
3) Create some interesting new information for guests who might in interested in whatever topic is being researched
4) Generate useful knowledge and insights for Binna Burra Lodge to apply for our own in-house planning and operations use
5) To have researchers (individuals and groups) to contribute to revenue on F&B, activities and accommodation at Binna Burra Lodge
The first two members of the Binna Burra SCIENCE ADVISORY GROUP are our Co-Chairs:

Professor Roger Kitching Emeritus Professor Roger Kitching AM has a demonstrated history of university-based research, teaching and supervision globally. Research outputs in ecology, entomology, research design, lecturing, environmental and science policy. He holds a Doctor of Science (DSc), focused on Community Ecology from Griffith University, following a DPhil from Oxford and a first degree (BSc, ARCS) from Imperial College. Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and Gregor Mendel medallist.
Roger is former Chair of Ecology at Griffith University’s School of the Environment. Before 1992 he was Professor of Ecosystem Management at the University of New England. He has served as Chair of the National Biodiversity Advisory Council, as Member and Chair of several technical and scientific advisory committees for federal World Heritage Areas, and as Special Commissioner on a federal Resource Assessment Commission inquiry. He was a Coordinating Lead Author for the Australasia Chapter in the 5th IPCC Report. He is a leading rainforest ecologist with special expertise in the biology, conservation and management of invertebrate biodiversity. He has led major projects in Queensland examining the response of biodiversity to projected climate change. He has research interests in forests from France to Borneo, Australia to Panama. He is the author or co-author, editor or co-editor of 12 books on a range of ecological subjects and has authored or co-authored over 220 refereed scientific articles. Roger was a lead scientist, node director and member of the executive of the CRC for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management for 13 years. He was a Bullard Fellow at Harvard University in 1998-99, a Queensland Smithsonian Research Fellow in 2004, and held visiting prize professorships at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2006 and 2014, and the UniversitĂ© Paul Sabatier, Toulouse in 2012.

Professor Dr Dianne Dredge. Adjunct Professor, Federation University, Australia and Visiting Guest Professor, Lund University, Sweden Elected Member, International Academy for the Study of Tourism Past Chair, Tourism Education Futures Initiative
Dianne is Founder and Director of The Tourism CoLab, a Queensland based design thinking agency dedicated to designing tourism and visitor experiences and economies for good. With a background in environmental and urban planning, tourism and community engagement, Dianne is a passionate advocate for transformative tourism and visitor economies that activate mind, bodies and hearts. She has spent most of her 25 year career planning and researching touristed communities, activating visitor experiences, and advocating for tourism and visitor economies that benefit people, places and the planet.
Dianne is a boundary spanner and systems thinker who employs participatory, user-centred design to understand the complex challenges associated with sustainable mobile living. She blends her practical design and community engagement experience with innovative and engaging facilitation approaches developed as an award-winning teacher in higher education, in consulting and as a policy researcher. She frequently runs tourism hacks, labs and walking workshops aimed at designing tourism for good. She has delivered destination management plans and visitor management plans for dozens of local governments across Australia.
Dianne has degrees in urban and environmental planning, tourism and recreation (Canada) and a PhD in regional development and governance. She has worked in Canada, Mexico and Denmark providing her with insights into visitor experience design from other cultural perspectives. She has worked at the Institute of Ecology in Xalapa, Mexico (one of the largest seed banks in Latin America dedicated to the conservation of Mexican cloud forests) where she delivered environmental education and forest conservation programs. More recently, Dianne has delivered policy advice to the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on projects including managing the collaborative/sharing economy accommodation, tourism policy, digitalisation and small business.
Dianne is Member of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism and Past Chair of the Tourism Education Futures Initiative. She is a thought leader and change-maker, and advocates for the creation of responsible, inclusive and regenerative tourism and visitor economies.

Photo: Steve Noakes, Roger Kitching & Dianne Dredge

Contact: Steve Noakes,
Chairman of the Board of Directors,
Binna Burra Lodge & Binna Burra Foundation
[email protected]


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