Back around 2006, I had the great good fortune to meet Julia Cooper. Author, wildlife advocate, business woman, who had a rare gift for making radio. Julia and her partner, Martin Cohen, began regular appearances on ABC Far North, talking about our local wildlife. Our listeners loved their expertise and passion for tropical creatures & I always looked forward to their next visit, usually accompanied by some wildlife.
Together, Martin and Julia set up Wild About Australia, and a related publishing business, Wild About The Tropics. Martin continues to appear on ABC Far North, but sadly, Julia died in December 2011 of the rare adult onset auto-immune disease hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis,or HLH. She was 34.
Now a research bursary has been set up in Julia’s memory to help honours and masters students at James Cook University in Cairns. It’s hoped that people who share Julia’s passion for wildlife will be helped towards tertiary qualifications and a career.
“It’s something I know she would have been very pleased about”
Martin Cohen says he and business partner Tim Parker are contributing $1000 a year from their publishing business for the next five years so students with limited access to funding could apply for some extra assistance.
“We are hoping that other people who loved Julia and were influenced by Julia’s passion for wildlife will also donate to her bursary so we can make it ongoing for many years into the future. It’s something I know she would have been very pleased about” Dr Cohen said.
You can read about the bursary and make a tax-deductible donation at http://alumni.jcu.edu.au/new-site-2012/donations/julia-cooper-memorial-wildlife-research-bursary-information
As Julia was passionate about gathering and interpreting new information about wildlife of North Queensland, this bursary has been offered to assist honours or master students in the fields of terrestrial or marine ecology. It can be awarded for travel, accommodation or equipment.
Julia packed a lot into her 34 years. She worked for the BBC Natural History Unit, the Wet Tropics Management Authority and in wildlife education and research businesses with Martin Cohen. Julia co-authored several books about the plants and animals of the Wet Tropics. She was a journalist, photographer, and a devoted wildlife carer. Julia stood up for the region’s much-maligned flying foxes. She often cared for orphaned baby flying foxes, nursing them back to health and rehabilitating them back into the wild.
And Julia had a rare and priceless gift for radio. She could conjure the beauty and the science of our tropical environment in the same moment. She informed, inspired, entertained, and she encouraged understanding. It was an honour to have worked with her.