Feature

Meet the people of AWC: Senior Field Ecologist Felicity L’Hotellier

07 Mar. 2024
Brad Leue/AWC

Welcome to ‘Meet the People of AWC’, a captivating series dedicated to unveiling the heart and soul of our organisation through the stories of the incredible individuals who make it all possible. In this series, we’ll take you on a journey to uncover the unique stories, passions, and expertise of the incredible individuals that make Australian Wildlife Conservancy who we are.

Senior Field Ecologist Felicity ‘Flic’ L’Hotellier lives and works at AWC’s Mount Zero-Taravale Wildlife Sanctuary, Queensland, where she has been based for almost five years. Here, she is responsible for the implementation of our science program and has been instrumental in the reintroduction of the endangered Northern Bettong to the newly established feral predator-free safe haven on the sanctuary. Before this, she had spent nearly 11 years based at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary, New South Wales, working on both the Land Management and Science teams.

Flic, with current Mount Zero-Taravale (and formerly Scotia) Sanctuary Manager Josh ‘Macca’ McAllister, undertaking fire management at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary, New South Wales, in 2019. Felicity L'Hotellier/AWC
Flic, with current Mount Zero-Taravale (and formerly Scotia) Sanctuary Manager Josh ‘Macca’ McAllister, undertaking fire management at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary, New South Wales, in 2019.

“I think from a young age I was drawn to the conservation field – but probably thought that would take shape in a career of applied land management.

“Growing up watching episodes of ‘Captain Planet’ and seeing female leads like Ranger Stacey on ‘Agro’s Cartoon Connection’ (not all television exposure is bad!), along with lots of time spent in the bush, definitely helped set my course.”

“I studied Environmental Science at University, before starting out in land management-focused roles.”

It was during her early career that Flic first heard about AWC – and was advised that, given the chance, she should jump at the opportunity to work for them. That chance came a short time later, and jump she did! It has been a whirlwind of fulfilling adventure ever since.

“I’ve been lucky enough to spend time on many AWC sanctuaries over the years, which has included helping out on properties as wide-ranging as Mount Gibson in the west, to Newhaven in the centre, and all the way north to Picaninny Plains; I’ve gone from working in the semi-arid soils of our south-eastern properties, through to the tropics of North Queensland.“

Flic with a Brush-tailed Mulgara (Dasycercus blythi) at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, Northern Territory. AWC
Flic with a Brush-tailed Mulgara (Dasycercus blythi) at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, Northern Territory.

“There are too many memorable moments from my career to pick just one. Being able to live and breathe AWC’s mission and contributing to the outcomes we’re achieving as an organization, though, is something I love. And to do that, while working alongside colleagues that I can also call friends and family – that’s something pretty special.”

“Being based on sanctuary, fully engaged in a life of purpose dedicated to conservation, and being able to do that alongside my partner as we raise our family immersed in the same experience; I count myself as truly lucky.”

“A more recent field highlight was releasing Northern Bettongs back onto Country at Mount Zero-Taravale after their 20-year absence, and at a personal level, being able to share that incredible experience with my partner, daughter and mum.”

Flic (middle), pictured releasing a Northern Bettong with mum Lavina and daughter Billie. Brad Leue/AWC
Flic (middle), pictured releasing a Northern Bettong with mum Lavina and daughter Billie.

“I would absolutely recommend a career in science – and even more so, a career in environmental conservation. The environment is something that both connects and impacts us all, whether people are engaged in it or not.”

“By working in this field, we are having an impact on something so much greater than ourselves (and having an awesome time, with incredible life experiences, in the process!).”

“My advice for anyone looking to work in science; go for it! Build connections, volunteer (a great way to find out what you enjoy, meet people across the industry and discover other opportunities) and don’t be afraid of a challenge or taking a leap into the unknown; you never know where you’ll end up.”

Learn more about Felicity’s work with Northern Bettong in this episode of AWC in Conversation.

Our “Meet the people of AWC” series will continue to introduce you to the dedicated individuals who contribute to the conservation and protection of Australia’s wildlife. Stay tuned for upcoming spotlights, where we’ll uncover the passions and expertise of our diverse team.

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