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Would you like to help search for Leadbeater’s Possum in the wild and be part of a long term ecological monitoring project run by Professor David Lindenmayer of the Australian National University? Then we could use your help with some stag watching evenings this summer.

In this program volunteers are taken out to one of the 166 ANU research sites across the Central Highlands forests.  Each volunteer is given a “stag tree” (old, possibly dead and decaying tree that has formed nesting hollows) to watch for 30 minutes before and after dusk. As the forest darkens you sit quietly and hope to see or hear a glider or possum appear from one of the hollows on your stag.  At the end everyone comes out of the forest to record and discuss what they have seen. Often further spotlight surveys are conducted.  Hopefully you will be very lucky and see a Leadbeater’s Possum!  Find out below how you can get involved!

Join the 2021 Summer Stag Watching Program!

The Australian National University is hoping it will be possible to conduct possum stag-watches again this summer.  As with previous years, we will be doing our surveys through until early April.
Stagwatching commences early in the new year, but if you haven’t already signed up watch this space so we can keep you in the loop.
Please provide us with your contact details (name, mobile and email) if you are interested.  If you are no longer interested, please let us know and we will remove you from our list.  If you know others who may be interested, please pass this on.
It is really important we know if you are planning on joining us so you get to the right place and don’t get left behind.
Stagwatches will not run if raining, too windy or Total Fire Ban.
Meeting place will generally be Healesville Coles car park (down River St end) at 6:30pm, but please be in contact so we can confirm meeting time and place.  Return usually around 10:30-11pm.  DON’T JUST TURN UP without letting me know – we may not be there!
An information sheet is available with a few details for those who have not done a stag-watch before.
Hope to see you all out in the forest soon!
Lachie McBurney
Senior Forest Ecology Research Officers
Fenner School of Environment and Society
Australian National University
Healesville, Victoria



Volunteers for these events are required to walk in and out of dense vegetation and/or burnt forest sites, sit quietly under a large stag tree for up to an hour as the sun sets, then walk back out of the bush after dark. Your observations of any wildlife activities heard and/or seen in/on/or around your stag tree will be recorded by the ANU ecologist on the night.  All training and instructions are provided on the night.

For more details and information on meeting locations and what to bring etc view this year’s information: Stagwatching Flyer for summer.