Mates of Mundoonen

Citizen science connecting people and place

Mates of Mundoonen

Citizen science connecting people and place

Collaborations -


The issue

The Mundoonen Nature Reserve is an important remnant of Southern Tableland dry sclerophyll forest located between Gunning and Yass. It is one of very few forests accessible to the public in a landscape dominated by cleared grazing land. Koalas had previously been known to live in the Mundoonen Range forest, though the last sighting was in 2005. The forest was also considered potential habitat for the Spotted Quail-thrush - a ground nesting species that was feared to be facing local extinction and which is vulnerable to predation by foxes, cats and dogs. These species and all other components of the Mundoonen Range ecosystem had been subject to extreme drought and high temperatures, exacerbated by long periods of thick smoke coverage during the 2019-20 bush fires. 

The solution

A member of Gunning District Landcare envisaged the 'Mates of Mundoonen' project, and in 2020 the group successfully applied for a WIRES Landcare Australia Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grant. The aims of the project were to: inspire the local community to treasure their local natural heritage; determine if the Koala was still present; establish if the Spotted Quail-thrush was in serious decline; gain data on other wildlife; and inform further action to protect local wildlife species. The Mates of Mundoonen Project Officer organised a number of public activities including introduction to bird watching sessions, a spot-light tour, a webinar on koalas, and a morning tea with a number of fascinating speakers. 

The impact

The public activities have raised the profile of the Mundoonen Nature Reserve, and allowed many people to engage with the area. As well as the public events, volunteers from the Canberra Ornithologist Group and local Landcare groups undertook monthly bird surveys during 2021, becoming 3-monthly in 2022. The surveys have expanded our understanding of the bird life present - including several sightings of the Spotted Quail-thrush! While no koalas have been recorded as yet, methods to determine their presence are still being explored. The project has also been a wonderful opportunity for GDL, YAN, the Canberra Ornithologist Group, and NSW National Parks to collaborate and build stronger connections to continue to care for the Mundoonen Nature Reserve into the future. 

Key facts

  • Mundoonen Nature Reserve is a dry sclerophyll forest located between Gunning and Yass
  • Koalas had previously been found in the forest, with the last sighting in 2005
  • The Mates of Mundoonen Project was a citizen science project that engaged the local community to determine the presence of koalas and the Spotted Quail-thrush
  • The project was funded through a WIRES Landcare Australia Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grant
  • There have been a number of sightings of the Spotted Quail-thrush and the hunt for the koala continues

Project Partners