A NEW WEBSITE FOR BIRDLIFE NORTHERN QUEENSLAND

Contact Call | Volume 10 Number 3 | September 2021


I have been on the branch Committee as Secretary for over five years now, but my day job is working as a freelance graphic designer and website developer. When the Committee did some work on our Strategic Conservation Priorities some time ago, a Communications Working Group was established with the aim of improving our member and community engagement. One of the key projects we identified to help us achieve this was a rebuild of the branch website within a mobile friendly and search engine optimised platform, that was easy to manage and provided an easy to navigate and engaging resource for members, locals, and visitors to the region.





As many readers may know, BirdLife Australia is currently undertaking a comprehensive Digital Transformation Project. This involves a total audit, restructure, and rebuild of the existing BirdLife digital infrastructure – including over 40 websites, email communications, and various information management and communications systems that run things behind the scenes. When complete, it will provide a range of fantastic tools, resources, and guidelines to help BirdLife branches improve their marketing and communications, in order to align with the broader BirdLife brand, and support it in achieving its strategic marketing and communications objectives. Delivery of this project is a little way off yet however, so with the understanding that we may need to make some adjustments down the track, we were given permission to launch the new website, largely because we had done so much work on it, and because we were able to demonstrate that it was key to helping us deliver upon our approved Strategic Conservation Priorities.


Through various workshops and meetings, we identified what key content and functionality was needed on the site. With that done, using best practice in information architecture, we were able to streamline the vast amount of information about us and what we do into just six easy to navigate scrolling pages – Home, About Us, Conservation, Birding, Events, and News. Much of the content (images, news stories, events etc) are shareable via email and social media, so feel free to share away!


As with projects of this nature, the existing website was very popular and widely utilised. We had loads of great content on it that we didn’t want to lose, so you’ll be happy to find much of it has been retained on the new website, including an archive of all past editions of Contact Call, our very popular Northern Queensland birding checklists, and information about upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.


The News and Events pages will be updated regularly so check back often to keep up to date. This is where you can access the current issue of Contact Call, an archive of all past editions, as well as read and share a selection of our favourite stories and timely tid-bits.

One of our favourite pages is the Birding page. Northern Queensland is a birding paradise. As you can imagine, we field many enquiries from interstate and international visitors about where to go and what to see. We also wanted to create a resource to help locals experience how great their own backyard is. But the Branch covers a vast region with many different bioregions and bird communities, and conveying that in a helpful and inspiring way presented a challenge!


You'll see that we have solved that problem by segmenting Northern Queensland into large 'birding destination' regions. Each region has a unique description and stunning photo of an iconic local species. So, a visitor interested in ‘where can I go, and what can I see?’ may decide to ‘visit Outback Queensland and hope to see a spectacular Australian Bustard’, or ‘take a drive down to the Cassowary Coast in search of a Cassowary encounter’. Right now, each region has a ‘Read more’ button that links to a reputable local tourism webpage, but we are working on creating beautiful downloadable information flyers for each region that will replace the links. So, stay tuned for that!



To help visitors to the region and locals explore and discover our birdlife, we’ve segmented Northern Queensland into eight ‘birding destination’ regions – Cairns Region, Daintree Rainforest, Cassowary Coast, Atherton Tablelands, Cape York Peninsula, Gulf Country, Outback Queensland, and Mt Isa Region.





The website has received much positive feedback and visitors are signing up to receive our emails daily. BirdLife Australia Community Organiser, James Matcott was very excited to see our new website:


“I just wanted to congratulate and celebrate BirdLife Northern Queensland for what they’ve produced. It really makes me wish I could hop in a car, drive up north, and go and see Kalkadoons and Cassowaries with [you]!... this gives such a good template for what a branch website could look like! It’s amazing, and I love it to bits!”


THANK YOU


A project like this takes a dedicated and talented team! Mikey Kudo developed and managed the previous branch website for many years. It was widely considered an outstanding site among the many BirdLife branches. We sincerely thank him for his time and dedication to bringing such a valuable touchstone and informative resource to our members and the wider community. His contribution will have undoubtedly contributed to the fulfilment of the branch and BirdLife's important conservation and community impacts in immeasurable ways.



A sincere thank you also goes to Mike Grigg who spent several long days working into the night with me to carefully bring it all together and to life. Much of the content and beautiful design is a credit to him and his knowledge and keen creative eye.


Throughout the website you’ll see many stunning images of birds found throughout Northern Queensland. From the darling little Fernwren, to the proud Wedge-tailed Eagle, quirky Galah, and iconic Golden Bowerbird, each photo has been chosen to capture the stunning beauty and unique characteristics of the species. Therefore, a special mention and thanks must go to many amazing photographers from BirdLife Photography, as well as Martin Willis, Keith and Lindsay Fisher, and Dr Stephen Murphy to name a few, who generously granted us permission to use their magical photographs on the site. Our feathered friends steal the show, and the website would not be what it is without them!

Martin Willis’s (left) photos of the gorgeous Victoria’s Riflebird, Beach Stone-curlews, and Golden-shouldered Parrot feature on the new website. You can purchase prints of Martin’s amazing photos from his website www.martinwillisphotographs.com.au





I hope the new website is informative, helps you find ways to get involved, and share our special birds with your friends, family, community, and visitors. If you have any questions or suggestions, please phone 0405 117 551 or email renee.cassels@my.jcu.edu.au


 

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