David Benfer, Dr EN Marks Sustainability Award winner 2011
19 February 2012
The Institute for Future Environments is proud to announce David Benfer as the winner of the Dr E.N. Marks Sustainability Award for 2011.
David Benfer is a third-year undergraduate student completing a Bachelor of Applied Science (majoring in Ecology) at QUT.
David participated in a number of undergraduate
activities at SERF during 2011, in particular, the
Ecological System unit (NQB623) where he undertook
a short research project with a small group of student
colleagues. The project examined the recruitment of
native and lantana seedlings after a low-intensity burn, in
order to provide some information about how fire might
impact on lantana and native species, and therefore how
fire might best be used as a management tool.
The nature of the work is highly relevant to our understanding of the ecology of native plants at SERF, and to the long-term management of problem weeds. If management can be based on sound scientific knowledge then we are far more likely to be able to achieve sustainable management outcomes for native plants and animals at SERF.
David's student project was an important contribution
to the SERF knowledge base and the IFE is pleased to
present the 2011 Dr E. N. Marks Sustainability award
David Benfer's student paper (PDF, 248KB)
Jason Wimmer, Dr EN Marks Sustainability Award winner 2010
18 November 2010
The Institute for Future Environments is proud to announce Jason Wimmer as the winner of the Dr E.N. Marks Sustainability Award for 2010.
Jason has a Bachelor of Computing from Monash University, Melbourne and is currently completing a Doctor of Philosophy at QUT. His PhD research focuses on environmental acoustic sensing. Jason has a distinguished record of excellence in academic achievement in sustainability projects. He is passionate and enthusiastic about the environment and committed to making a significant contribution to sustainability through his research.
Jason is also committed to ongoing professional and personal development activities. Jason continues professional development in his core discipline (IT), however his research is cross-disciplinary involving both IT and ecological research. As a result Jason has undertaken formal ecological studies (QUT Ecological Experimental Design and Introduction to Sustainability units) in addition to extensive reading and personal study in ecology and sustainability.
Jason is involved in a number of ongoing projects, working with ecologists and biologists to refine acoustic sensing techniques to improve their capability to monitor and study the impact of climate change and loss of habitat on native Australian fauna.
For the past two years, he has spent the majority of his time at SERF assisting with bird surveys and deploying and monitoring acoustic sensors.
Jason is currently engaged in a project at SERF with Dr Ian Williamson to assess the effectiveness of various recording schedules and devices in detecting bird species, and comparing these results with manual species survey methods. This project involves deploying 3G-based sensor devices and standalone recording devices throughout the Samford facility, and assisting in conducting manual bird species surveys.
James Tilbury, Dr EN Marks Sustainability Award winner 2009
5 March 2010
The Institute for Future Environments is proud to announce James Tilbury as the winner of Dr E.N. Marks’ Sustainability Award for 2009.
James has a bachelor of civil engineering with a minor in economics at QUT and is a Dean’s Scholar with a GPA of 6.78.
For his undergraduate thesis, James researched the viability of collecting organic waste from households and converting it into compost and energy. It was revealed that that there is a market for the compost and that is was economically feasible to collect the organic waste, however, the benefits of using compost from organic waste needed to be quantified to entice farmers to change their practices.
“My involvement with SERF is through a student project designing an eco-village for the property which provided me with an understanding of the principles of site analysis, site investigation and planning for sustainable development,” James says.
“My engineering degree has taught me how to work logically through a problem, use maths to solve it, understand the systems involved and think outside the box. These skills are highly sought after in the workforce and I’ll be able to apply them to almost any profession that I choose to take up,” he added.
While at QUT, James founded the QUT Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB QUT). It ran a number of aid projects and sustainability initiatives such as:
- Deans Scholar for the Developing World – This program gives exceptional biomedical students from QUT the opportunity to spend time in southern India contributing to the design of medical technologies uniquely suited to this environment.
- Medical Aid Missions for Communities in Need – A project that aims set up a health centre by collecting redundant medical equipment from hospitals around Queensland, maintaining, repairing and distributing it along with spare parts, knowledge and training programs to communities who desperately need these facilities.
- The Bentinck Island project – A project involving QUT students building amenities blocks using recycled materials for Indigenous communities across the Gulf of Carpentaria.
- PC Program – Donating refurbished computers to refugees.
- School Outreach Program – Teaching students about sustainable development through hands-on workshops in schools.
James was also involved as a student representative in the Vice Chancellor’s Sustainability Working Party. This group actively promote, implement and develop environmentally sustainable practices within QUT and across the broader university community as well as promoting and developing a culture of awareness of environmental sustainability issues within the university.
James is now a consultant at Ernst & Young in the Climate Change and Sustainability Services division. He advises clients on how to reduce their environmental impact and abide by new legislation.
Matthew Rodgers, Dr EN Marks Sustainability Award winner 2008
5 January 2009
Matthew Rodgers, Bachelor of Urban Development student majoring in Construction Management at QUT, was the winner of the inaugural Dr EN Marks Sustainability Award in 2008.
Matthew comes from a trade background with 12 years experience as a plumber, drainer and gasfitter.
Matthew says, “I decided to study at QUT due to the University’s reputation for being a university for the real world, which at the time appealed to me as I was pursuing a tertiary education as a mature age student.
I also felt that the course I selected was going to help with my professional career. It has allowed me to gain a greater understanding of what’s involved in urban development and buildings, which would have been impossible had I not enrolled within this program.”
Matthew has been working at SERF, designing an independent rainwater supply system. Because the property is not connected to town water, the property must be self reliant by using rainwater to supply the Barracks facilities. He achieved this by calculating the annual rainfall which could be harvested against the potential consumption of the building’s facilities.
Some of his work included replacing the existing lead flashings on the roof in order to provide a potable supply of rainwater without potential contamination, retrofitting the Barracks with water conservation fixtures and installing a suitable size water tank to collect the rainwater from the roof to service the building.
Aside from being a high-achieving student and working full time, Matthew mentors students from his course in his spare time. “Some of the subjects within the course do require an amount of assumed knowledge in regards to the building industry.
My practical experience has allowed me the opportunity to work with other students that have entered into the course with no prior building or construction experience,” he says.
Paul Den Ronden, Lecturer, BEE School of Urban Development
28 July 2008
As a lecturer at the School of Urban Development, Paul Den Ronden immediately recognised the great value of SERF providing a hands-on, practical teaching and learning facility for his students in UDB112 Professional Studies 1.
The “Barracks” on the property required significant modification and refurbishment to bring it to a standard fit for accommodation by QUT. Using all the competencies within the unit outline, Paul translated them into a real-life project at SERF to significantly transform the building into a safe and habitable structure.
As a result of his forward thinking, Paul won the Programs that Enhance Learning Award by QUT’s Built Environment and Engineering (BEE) faculty that awards teachers who develop quality programs that influence on student learning and student engagement with their respective course.
The students’ assessment of the Barracks included site identification and surveying, drafting of domestic structures, location of services and constructing a model of a domestic residence.
It further developed the students’ understanding of Residential Construction and Construction Management through the practical applications of the theory taught in Semester 1 to real developments within the commercial scene in Brisbane.
The work carried out by the students on the Barracks allowed them to participate in a real world project has included:
- full CAD documentation of the existing building including a report on services
- removal of lead head nails and full re-screwing and flashing of existing roof
- repair of all flooring to decks and the total replacement of one deck
- construction of a new balustrade and staircases to all decks
- removal of all existing asbestos sheeting
- installation of new windows and re-cladding of external walls in custom orb sheeting
- removal and reframing of all timber damaged by termites
- total rebuilding and retiling of the kitchen, bath and wc areas
- pouring of a concrete slab to provide for new toilets and shower
- relining of all ceilings and walls in plasterboard to the above areas
- provision of laminated beams to the lounge area to replace the white ant infested structure
This project has provided students with valuable experience in th e documentation of an existing building, solving all manner of construction defects and difficulties and using their leadership skills in planning and executing the refurbishment work.
Through innovative recycling, purchasing of sustainable materials and the labour provided by Paul and his students, the cost of this project has been dramatically reduced to about one-sixth of what could be expected.
Feedback from the students has been phenomenal, indicating that they regard this experience as invaluable and an innovative and exciting program which has greatly enhanced their learning experience.
Introductory statement from Madeleine Sternberg
8 July 2008
This research into Dr Elizabeth Marks is an in depth examination of the life and work of a woman who was at the forefront of vital entomological research and education in Australia (especially Queensland) at a time when women in the scientific field were still considered an anomaly. Dr Marks’ life story offers a narrative view of broader historical issues such as women’s history, female agency in an historical setting and the role of women in society. Issues such are as these are still relatively contemporary additions to the ledger of historical research and discourse.
The project also involves compiling a database cataloguing the extensive Marks family historical collection including art, jewellery and furniture which is spread throughout Queensland in museums, private collections and archives. The aim of this project is to have this information collated and available for public use within 18 months.
(IFE Dr EN Marks Scholar)
Queensland Heritage Grant
13 June 2008
IFE won a grant under the Living Buildings and Places Heritage Grant Program from the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for $8200 to help initiate the conservation work on the Slab Hut.
Peter Marquis-Kyle, a heritage architect, has prepared a comprehensive conservation report for the Hut which includes:
The timber walls of the Slab Hut are placed directly on a bare earth ground making it highly susceptible to termite and water damage. A qualified operator has been engaged to install termite baiting stations in the ground around the Hut.
Secure loose parts
Engage a carpenter experienced in conservation work to secure loose gable boards, wall slabs and roof sheeting, using galvanised screws, wire or strapping that will be applied in a reversible manner and to secure any other loose parts of the building. All new materials will be date-marked and recorded for submission to the EPA Cultural Heritage Branch.
Information kit and briefings
Development of an information kit to inform visitors about the cultural value of the Slab Hut, its conservation policies and protocols for using the SERF.
Bushfire management and hazard reduction
Due to the Hut’s exposed timber structure and semi-isolation, it is at considerable risk from grass fires. Preliminary bush fire hazard reduction assessment has indicated that it may be beneficial to place gravel around the boundary of the timber slabs to minimise the risk from grass fires.
Research, teaching and learning facility
In line with being a teaching facility, comprehensive teaching and learning program for undergraduate and postgraduate students being developed include:
- photographing the Hut structure using precision stereoscopic photogram metric techniques
- 3D modelling of SERF and the Hut
- detailed baseline measurements of the Hut
Conservation work is due to begin soon using QUT students which will contribute towards their overall course points. This will be under the supervision of the heritage architect.