Stephanie Hernandez, Research Officer
See Steph’s full research profile here.
What are your research interests as they relate to northern Australia?
My research is in impact evaluation. Impact evaluation seeks to answer the question “what if we didn’t do anything?” Northern Australia, for all its beauty, is subject to an array of threatening processes – the combination of which may have substantial negative implications for biodiversity. With increasingly limited time and resources, conservation planners are pressed to evaluate conservation initiatives so that we may maximise biodiversity outcomes. I am very interested in working with governments to develop policies and interventions that have a quantifiable measure of impact.
What do you love about working in northern Australia?
I grew up just outside LA, where you might travel for hours before escaping the concrete and noise. After having lived and worked in Northern Australia for six years, I am far too spoiled by our rich wilderness to return to another city. Most of my hobbies are outdoors, and being in northern Australia gives me an incredible opportunity to engage daily in these hobbies. Where else might you go trail running in the morning, pack-rafting in the evening and spend all day serenaded by black cockatoos, honeyeaters and bower birds? My favourite place to work is Townsville, North Queensland because its radiance is not only demonstrated in its, nearly perpetual, sunny days, but also its exceptional local biodiversity. I have a lot of love for the open woodlands and the biodiversity that is fed and housed in old eucalyptus trees. Townsville also offers ongoing surprises, for example, pockets of rainforests appearing in protected gullies – like little treasures for anyone who looks carefully.