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During the Tree House Challenge this August we are not alone in the forest! Meet our expert science team of Yoav, Sue and Alastair below. They are joining in on the daily discussions during the expedition to help us understand some of the things Andrew is finding. They were all once students just like you and they just love helping to explain the world using science. You can post questions straight to any of them in the daily discussions by starting with something like, ‘Excuse me Sue, I was wondering if you can help answer this question I have…’

Go to the daily discussion boards during the LIVE expedition to quiz our experts >>

Alastair Richardson
Associate Professor & Zoologist
Tasmanian animals
Bookend Trust, UTAS
Growing veggies in my greenhouse
Alastair Richardson is a zoologist at the University of Tasmania in Hobart. He is interested in all sorts of things, such as caves and crayfish (especially crayfish!), but also birds. In mid-summer and mid-winter he takes part in a nationwide count of shorebirds. Over his long career he has done research and taught thousands of students about animals. During the Tree House Challenge he will help us discover the creatures that call forests home, from the very small ones hidden from human eyes, to the furry and feathered ones that you might already know.
Quick Facts
  • Engraved numbers on 400 snails with a dental drill.
  • Lived in Hawaii for six months.
  • Stood on the summit of Precipitous Bluff wearing chest waders.
Dr Sue Baker
Forest Ecologist
Forest insects, giant trees
University of Tasmania
Visiting South America and speaking Spanish
Sue thinks she has the best job in the world! She is a conservation biologist who gets to work in Tasmania’s beautiful forests. Sue conducts research into everything from giant trees to the minute little beetles that live on the forest floor. Her work has taken her to forests around the world and she lived in the USA for a year and a half, learning about forests and conservation. She works closely with the forest industry to help develop logging practices and reservation strategies that improve outcomes for biodiversity. Sue also loves combining science and adventures. Under Yoav’s expert instruction she has climbed and helped map the structure of giant trees.
Quick Facts
  • Swam from mainland Tasmania to Maria Island.
  • Conducted SCUBA dive fish surveys in the Galapagos Islands.
  • Lived in a tent on a small Antarctic island surveying seabirds.
Yoav Bar-Ness
Forest Ecologist
Forest structure, tree climbing, knots and ropes
Outreach Ecology/Tasmanian Geographic
Learning about ancient myths and legends
Yoav is a botanist who has measured the branching structure in some world’s tallest flowering plants, surveyed the animal life in the giant evergreen conifers of the American West Coast and studied the magnificent cedar trees of the Himalaya. He’s helped out Japanese film crews, conducted leaf samples at long term research sites, interned at the International Canopy Network and created the first 2-d maps of giant Indian banyan trees. He’s set up cameras at raven nests, surveyed endangered bird nests, measured the soil collected on branches high in the sky, and taught several people how to climb safely on ropes.
Quick Facts
  • First thought about tree climbing when looking at a piece of broccoli as a kid.
  • Has tremendously bad eyesight.
  • Consistently prefers mint-chocolate-chip to all other ice-cream flavours.
Andrew Hughes
Going on adventures
Bookend Trust
Learning new skills
Andrew decided a long time ago that adventures were a great way to learn about the world and share it with students everywhere. He has been doing Expedition Class with the Bookend Trust for ten years. Journeys have taken him around Papua New Guinea in a sea kayak and around Australia on a bicycle. Along the way he loves sharing the stories and the challenges of what’s happening out there. To do this adventure (thanks to Yoav) he has learned how to climb really enormous trees using ropes and special knots. With Sue, Alastair, Yoav and YOUR help he is looking forward to finding out more about trees and forests.
Quick Facts
  • Once ran a bushwalking business called Mad Wombat Guides.
  • Grew up in north west Tasmania.
  • Worked in an underground gold mine for one year.

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