Mudgee welcomes Senior Ecologist Cheryl O’Dwyer

Thursday, 18 October, 2018


At the beginning of the year Eco Logical Australia welcomed 5 new senior staff into our offices around the country.  Senior Ecologist Cheryl O’Dwyer joined our Mudgee office in NSW in February. With over 25 years experience in biodiversity conservation, Cheryl specializes in ecology and habitat management. Cheryl has worked as a conservation biologist for Zoos Victoria in a role that saw her design and implement conservation programs for native species with a focus on invertebrates.  

She has also taught ecology as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne and as Senior Lecturer at the Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in the coastal town of Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory.  

Cheryl has worked in many remote and isolated places, and says that they have been some of the highlights of her career.  

We caught up with Cheryl to see how she is settling in and what she’s most excited about in the coming months.  

Why did you become an ecologist?

I loved watching documentaries as a kid. My favourites were David Attenborough and David Belemy. I wanted so much to be like them and explore the world. And I admired people who could identify the plants and animals in an area and understand the fascinating ways in which they interacted. 

For example - did you know that the Golden sun moth, an old Gondwanan relict, doesn’t have a mouth during the adult stage? And that the female emerges from her pupa case so heavily laden with eggs that flying is difficult. The male will then scout around looking for her in-between the grass tussocks. It’s this type of tidbit information that I find fascinating and love learning. And there is still so much we don’t know about our natural world!   

What has been your favourite project in your career thus far to work on?

I have been very lucky in my working career! There are many things I could say but for me the stand out was surveying fauna in The Kimberley in WA with DEC prior to the arrival of the cane toads.  What made this special was being able to have my family with me, camping out and teaching my two children (then aged 4 and 7) about wildlife, measuring snout and vent length and sexing lizards.   

Why did you choose to join ELA?

ELA has an excellent reputation in the consulting industry and it was time to get back to the roots of ecology and flora and fauna management.  It also helps that ELA has an office in the best location in Australia – Mudgee!!  

What projects are you excited to be working on at Eco Logical Australia?   

I’m excited about all the projects that are on offer; from working on mine sites, offset areas, to working with local government and with the private sector. I’m especially excited about working alongside and learning from the ELA team.