Rochelle maintains the Ferris tradition

27 Nov 2007 0 Share

Rochelle and Jason Ferris release the last turtle cared for by their father Lance.

Rochelle and Jason Ferris release the last turtle cared for by their father Lance.

Rochelle Ferris, daughter of Lance Ferris, assumed the Presidency of Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) at its AGM on Saturday, November 24th, and vowed to continue her fathers work of building ASR into a nationally recognised centre for the rescue and rehabilitation of Pelicans, other seabirds, turtles and other marine wildlife. "Dad gave his life to the wildlife he cared for and the continued work of ASR is his legacy", said Rochelle.

Rochelle is well prepared for the challenge with a degree in Marine Biology from James Cook University, postgraduate study in geographic information systems and business experience producing waterproof maps for scuba divers. Rochelle also co-authored a research paper with her father on the impact of recreational fishing on estuarine wildlife. Displaying a way with words, Rochelle has also been employed as a speechwriter and for the last year has worked in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean on luxury yachts. Rochelle's partner, Keith Williams, will be putting a career in managing non-profit organisations to use and has become Secretary.

The AGM heard that ASR is financially sound, but long-term financial viability requires a broadening of funding sources and will require an even greater capacity to secure sponsorships and maintain the strong level of support from the local community. ASR's immediate needs include plumbing and electrical work, gardening supplies and telecommunications costs. The meeting recognised the valuable support provided by existing sponsors including Tony and Lisette Lewis Foundation, Readymix, Coastalwatch, and many others.
The AGM capped a busy week for ASR. The previous Sunday, volunteers Rod, Jeannie, Missy, Rob and Kris, helped out in the ASR boats rescuing over 1,000 little yellow ducks from the Rotary Club Duck Race on Ballina River as part of Rivafest, while Rochelle joined the Mayor for the ceremony to name Lance Ferris Park. The sea of ASR blue shirts was a grand sight.
Later that afternoon a group of volunteers set off to Iluka in response to a call about a pelican with a hook in it's right knee at the boat ramp. Volunteer Rob Poulton executed a brilliant "Lance Ferris Leap" and caught the pelican with a very impressed audience of locals offering a round of applause. The bird was treated and released straight back into the local population.

Monday morning saw the release of a big (41 kg) green turtle at Julian Rocks. A group of four volunteers joined the trip to the rocks to witness his behaviour on release and were pleased that all it took was four excited flaps of his pectoral flippers and he was gone. Many thanks to Sundive for all their help.

Sergio from Evans Head Kayak Adventures found a juvenile green turtle in distress on the beach south of Jerusalem Creek on Tuesday. Two of his kayak customers delivered the patient to ASR HQ in Ballina where he is being rehabilitated for suspected floating syndrome.

On Wednesday afternoon, ASR received an alert from a local surfer about a dolphin off Ballina with line and a coke bottle trailing behind it. Volunteers Keith and Rob went out in the boat early the next morning and waited near a school of baitfish to try and spot it. Less than 10 minutes later the coke bottle came within arms reach of the boat and was grabbed by Rob. A few flicks of the tail and the dolphin had freed itself from what turned out to not only be a coke bottle, but 8m of orange rope and a crab dilly on the end. "Knowing I had the dolphin on the end of that line was mindblowing! I could have walked back to the beach from there I was that excited" said Rob.
ASR will continue to provide its well-known rescue and rehabilitation services from its centre at North Creek Road, Ballina. "We're committed to not only keeping what we've got, but building on what Dad has given us and making sure that ASR is something he would be proud of", said Rochelle. Members of the public can sh

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