Gecko – Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council Association Incorporated was founded in 1989 when representatives of six local conservation groups joined together.
They envisioned the organisation working for the care, protection and conservation of the natural environment and the improvement of the built environment so that it would become more ecologically sustainable.
A vibrant Gold Coast community where people and animals, plants, water, air and earth all form a healthy, harmonious system.
Gecko’s Mission Statement:
To actively promote, conserve and restore the natural environment and improve the sustainability of the built environment of the Gold Coast region in partnership with our member groups and the wider community.
Aims and Objectives
The objects for which the organisation is established aim:
- To promote the conservation, protection and restoration of our world’s environment along sound ecological principles
- To protect and preserve ecological sustainability and encourage this as a goal for all facets of society
- To educate and inform all sections of our community in the values of conservation, preservation and protection of our environment
- To encourage and promote personal, public and government care of the environment
- To advocate by any peaceful means, any individual group, company of government to cease exploitative ecologically unsafe practices and to urgently seek, then implement alternatives
- To support, cooperate and affiliate with organisations engaged in activities that support the Associations aims.
Gecko began its life in a small room loaned by the Currumbin Sanctuary and remained there until 1994, when the members moved across the road to an old shed and renovated it to house an office and library.
In 1996, Gecko had the opportunity to buy the second Currumbin State School building on the banks of Currumbin Estuary. Gecko House was born! This gave members a meeting hall and an office/library, which served it well.
In 2001, Centenary of Federation grant money became available and an ambitious renovation resulted in the Gecko House of today.
Gecko House now has an office, library, kitchen and guest lounge downstairs. Upstairs is the Hall, which is available for hire, as well as the administration office for Gecko Regen. Gecko operates with members, staff, and volunteers all working together for the same ends, but through a variety of different means and activities.
A Management Committee, elected at the AGM, oversees Gecko’s activities. A number of Sub-Committees assist. The Management Committee meets monthly but are in regular email contact.
Gecko members and friends gather on the second Wednesday of each month (General Meeting) to discuss environmental issues of interest and to decide what actions we wish to take. This is a social occasion as well.
On the fourth Wednesday of the month, we present a guest speaker on varied and interesting topics.
Another meeting is held on the first Saturday of the month when community groups from around the city come together to discuss issues of mutual concern. Some 10-20 smaller groups belong to this Meeting of Member Groups and work very effectively together with Gecko volunteers’ support to resolve local issues.
Gecko currently has two businesses – Gecko Regen and GeckoEd.
Gecko Regen is a specialist revegetation firm using locally sourced native species. Gecko Regen provides environmental services which include natural area regeneration, revegetation and environmental consultancy. They also operate a native plant nursery growing local provenance native plants.
Gecko Regen was established in 1998 and is a professionally managed company, wholly owned by Gecko – Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council Assoc. Inc.. Gecko Regen employs around 20 local staff. Some profits from its commercial activities assist Gecko to support its community environmental initiatives. Gecko Regen was launched as a result of a relationship developed by Gecko member,John Palmer OAM and Gold Coast City Council after it was identified that the City’s landfill sites were in desperate need of revegetation work. The company uses only paid staff to run its operations, however, as with most companies, its board of directors are unpaid. Gecko Regen Pty Ltd is an incorporated company.
GeckoEd consist of a team of educators, delivering quality environmental education to students and the general public.
Gecko activities also include:
- Responding to the public. Gecko volunteers and staff respond to public queries and concerns about issues in the Gold Coast’s environment. Our aim is to empower and support people where possible.
- Campaigns. Some issues start off small but can soon become major campaigns. These are managed by Gecko’s volunteer campaigns team, which meets every 2 weeks. Issues may include vegetation protection, protection of parklands (such as Macintosh Island Park) and National Parks (such as Springbrook), sustainable transport, water supply, wastewater management, waste management. Some more well-known campaigns that Gecko has coordinated in the past include “Save Our Spit”, “Save Miami Bushland”, and “No Way Cableway”.
- Events. Gecko hosts an annual World Environment Day festival each June. Now called the Green Day Out, the event has previously been awarded the Gold Coast’s Community Event of the Year. Clean Up Australia Day is co-ordinated by Gecko each year for which we have received national recognition and award. We usually also conduct activities in Biodiversity Month (September), including those relating to whale protection. Every December, Gecko holds an awards night to recognize the many individuals and organisations which contribute to maintaining and enhancing the natural beauty of the Gold Coast.
- Representation. Gecko is represented by volunteers on many government committees and participates in many public consultation processes, such as Gold Coast WaterFutures, SEQ Catchments, Queensland Water and Land Carers, Natural Resource Management for South East Queensland (NRMSEQ), input to the Koala Conservation Plan, and representation on the World Heritage Advisory Committee for the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia (CERRA).
- Gecko’s Revegetation Projects. As well as the work done by Gecko Regen, Gecko conducts a range of revegetation, beach and bushcare activities, mainly in Tarrabora Reserve, Elanora Wetlands and Nicoll Scrub
- Gecko’s Walk with Wildlife (WwW). WwW are dedicated to conducting surveys of birds, vegetation and other wildlife in certain dedicated areas, mainly in the Tallebudgera and Currumbin Regions. These surveys are recorded in binders held in Gecko’s library. We also combine these surveys with easy walks that most people would have the capacity to walk with ease. Although, we do have the occasional bushwalk that can be strenuous.
Gecko has grown from a small group to an effective organisation grappling with the many issues confronting our City and its environment as the population continues to grow at a rapid rate. It can only continue its work with the commitment and involvement of its members, staff, volunteers, donors and supporters.
You will find much more information about these and other Gecko activities in the many sections of our website. Enjoy the ride!
This portfolio is under the direction of the Treasurer of Gecko and the team consists of the Treasurer, Bookkeeper and assistant Bookkeeper. It is closely linked with the Grants portfolio.
The portfolio includes the development and implementation of an annual budget for Gecko; ensuring the annual financial audit meets requirements, the payment of accounts; keeping of financial records; insurance arrangements; compliance of regulatory financial requirements, supervision of banking accounts, the supervision of grant monies received and their acquittal; the management of the hire of the hall; the purchase of new items for Gecko’s activities; the receipt of donations and other income.
The Treasurer acts as the financial liaison between Gecko and Gecko Regen.
Supervision of employed staff on casual or contract basis is also an important role of the Treasurer.
Healthy sustainable finances which enable Gecko to carry out its mission effectively.
Goals for 2012:
- To ensure that Gecko remains financially viable.
- To grow Gecko’s income
- To ensure that all grants received are properly acquitted.
- To ensure employed staff fulfil their roles satisfactorily and are well treated in the workplace.
Resources and Methods:
Resources include the services of a Bookkeeper and Assistant Bookkeeper; Quickbooks accounting software; computers; financial records.
The Treasurer develops a budget for Gecko each year which submitted to the Gecko Board for acceptance. It is reported against at each Gecko Board meeting and General meeting.
The Treasurer attends Gecko at least once day per week to supervise the tasks as required.
The Treasurer ensures that the annual financial report is carried out and meets reporting requirements.
The Treasurer manages bank accounts and ensures best possible management of savings accounts.
The Treasurer may convene special financial meetings of the Executive or the full Board in the event of financial difficulties or decisions regarding large purchases or for discussion of the financial relationship between Gecko and Gecko Regen.
The Treasurer maintains the hall hire records and supervisors volunteers involved in the maintenance of these records.
The Treasurer meets with paid or contract staff on a regular basis to facilitate communication.
The Grants team meets monthly to determine what items and programs within Gecko need financial assistance to function. To this end the team coordinator reviews available grants from various sources and advises the team about these. The team then applies for appropriate grants. The supervision and acquittal of the grants is undertaken by the team using the grant money, but this is also overseen by the Grants coordinator.
The vision of the Grants team is to be successful in applying for grants which will provide sufficient funds for Gecko to achieve its mission and maintain the fabric of the house well.
Goals for 2012.
- To have a well functioning team consisting of a coordinator and 4 team members.
- To gain funds for the upgrade of the computer and telephone system.
- To gain funds for the painting and maintenance of the building.
- To gain funds for GeckoEd to establish Earth Journeys
- To consult the Wish List for other items applicable to grants.
Resources and method:
The Grants team needs one or two more volunteers with knowledge of writing grant applications.
The Grants calendar to be kept up to date by the Coordinator.
An effective and efficient filing system to be established of documents needed for grant applications; examples of past successful grants; current applications; current successful grants and acquittals of grants.
Regular meetings of the team.
The Administration portfolio.
Anna Bridle & Lynne Hargreaves
The efficient functioning of Gecko’s organisational structure depends upon the smooth running of the Admin, Human Resources and House portfolios.
The Admin team (A Team) is the foundation upon which Gecko functions and presents a friendly and helpful face to the public. The team consists of the front desk volunteers, library & admin volunteers.
The A team ensures that emails, messages and enquiries are dealt with in a friendly, polite and efficient manner by direct response or referral to the appropriate person within Gecko. Team members also assist with filing and other administrative tasks such as office supplies, maintenance of equipment and maintaining the resource library and news clippings. The Front desk volunteer also assists in the management of hall bookings and petty cash.
The vision of the A team is to support the work of Gecko by running a convivial, efficient and friendly office and front desk, and through providing an effective research/resource centre for members and the public and supports the person in charge of the hall hire business.
Goals for 2012.
- To have a well functioning cohesive and supportive A team
- To develop team spirit through social interactions.
- To recruit and train additional team members
- To have clearly defined role and task descriptions
- To maintain good relations with Gecko’s other teams and support them as appropriate.
- To review and improve the hard and soft copy filing system to ensure documents are easily located by all.
Resources and method:
Ongoing consultation with the existing volunteers on what progress is achieved will be important in determining these:
- Regular meetings as well as feedback via an Admin volunteers email list eg. Yahoo group -for easy contact between meetings.
- List the various tasks ideally involved in Administration, library work and hall management & work out what is achievable.
- Develop task and role descriptions to assist with recruitment
- Liaise with the volunteer coordinator about volunteers needed to join the A Team
- Liaise with the Treasurer regarding hall hire requests and issues.
- Provide feedback to the Secretary re Administration requirements
- Provide a monthly report to the Gecko Board.
- Develop an A team volunteer kit and a more detailed kit for Front desk volunteers.
- Undertake a resource inventory, as well as office files. Liaise with Sheila Tierney, Rose & Lois to find out which need sorting and culling. This includes a container held at Gecko Regen that needs culling.
- Give training in particular ON HALL HIRE & the hall hire CALENDAR as back up for the Treasurer.
- Have regular social interaction for volunteers.
House Care Portfolio
The House Care team consists of Snow as the gardener the House Care Coordinator meets monthly to discuss maintenance and new work to be done in and around the house including the hall, veranda, stairs, mural and surrounding gardens. The team reportson the progress of work which is in the process of being done with time frames and completion dates for each project identifying any problems. The team will source materials and expenses for projects through funding obtained by the Grants team and through volunteers and donations.
It is the aim of the House Care team to raise the profile of Gecko in the community by presenting a building that is interesting and well cared for.
- To maintain the gardens and mural to a high standard.
- To recruit volunteers to help with the tasks.
- To arrange the internal and external painting and maintenance of the building including the leaking roof, and garbage bin enclosure.
- To design and establish a new garden and pathway at the front of the House which is welcoming to all,.
- To assist in gaining funds for these goals through liaison with the Grants team and other sources such as freecycle.
- To Set up a working bee to clean the Hall ceiling and fans
- To repaint blue window frames and other blue areas in the hall
- To repair and repaint seats along the sides of the hall
- To design, construct and erect Parking signs for Gecko hall hire patrons
- To liase with Cyril and Alicia in regard to the design, supervision and painting of the supporting poles at the side of the house in design reflecting water, land and sky
Funds are limited and most of the smaller jobs can be managed by the House Care team with resources already at Gecko such as paint. Small items can be sourced through the extensive membership base online or purchased. Grants will be sourced for the larger projects.