Roger's cover image
Roger

Roger BUTTERMORE

Year of Award: 1998 Award State: Tasmania Science > Biology
The Gallaugher Bequest Churchill Fellowship to study bumblebee research facilities - New Zealand, France, Netherlands, Czech Republic, UK, Canada
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At the time of his Fellowship, Roger was Curator, Invertebrate Zoology at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. He now lives in Walnut Grove, California, the country of his birth, where he returned in 2001 after 28 years as an Aussie. His interest and expertise in the area of bees is celebrated world-wide.

At the time of his Fellowship Australia was one of the few developed countries which did not have access to bumblebee pollination technology, but there was strong interest among field and greenhouse crop producers here to have it introduced. Serious reservations existed about the possible harmful effects of bumblebees on Australian flora and fauna. In addition, the Tasmanian bumblebee population was highly inbred and might not have been suitable for commercial exploitation without supplementation by imported genetic material. Major concerns about disease and environmental risks needed to be addressed. Roger felt after his Fellowship that he was well placed to undertake an environmental impact study if financial backing could be found; he believed that the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery had possibly the most complete bumblebee reference library in Australia.

His immediate actions were to start a continuous rearing experiment to monitor the Tasmanian bumblebee population for its inbred characteristics and possible mutation back to a more normal condition. He was also keen to trap nest feral queens to assess field survival of diploid male producing colonies and to note feeding activities on a wide range of native and introduced plant species.

About himself Roger says: ‘I am a dedicated researcher, keeper and preservationist of records, narratives and images. Conveyance of accurate scientific and historical information to present and future generations is my mission in life. I passionately believe that informational dissemination is a good thing for humankind. I see Homo sapiens as a species evolving into a higher state of wisdom. Assisted by the digital revolution, communication between individuals and other subsets will be nothing short of miraculous.’

Roger has published various papers on bees and their habits. He has worked as a Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer, USDA Plant Inspection Station, Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and assisted with the coordination and implementation of a long-term NIS program in the San Francisco Bay/Delta. He provided technical assistance and recommendations to a variety of councils and fishery management entities and to further his interests undertook a scuba- diving and open-water diving certificate.

He says his other interests include gardening, genealogy, DNA research, swimming, walking/rambling, travel, and karaoke – plus, of course, keeping up with family in Tasmania and USA. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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