John Grant grew up in Ireland where his love of the outdoors and especially wildlife was nurtured by parents and teachers. A desire to find work doing what he loved led him to study for a degree in zoology at University College Dublin, culminating in an honour’s thesis on the foraging ecology of shorebirds. His research work continued with a PhD scholarship to the Australian National University in Canberra, where he studied the foraging behaviour of insectivorous bats. After several long, dark years with bats, he moved to North Queensland in 1987 and began a lasting love affair with the soon-to-be World Heritage rainforests of the Wet Tropics. Here he started long-term studies of rainforest bird communities and the Sarus Cranes which overwinter on the Atherton Tablelands and breed on the Gulf of Carpentaria wetlands. After some years as a wildlife guide in the tourism industry and some work as a consultant ecologist in the Wet Tropics and Cape York areas, his teaching career began in earnest when he moved to the Centre for Rainforest Studies near Yungaburra. He taught forest ecology and conservation courses there for several years before moving to Cairns as director of the Natural and Cultural Ecology program of the School for International Training. After six years directing this program, he stepped back to his current part-time teaching role and also developed a new program on biodiversity and conservation, which he now teaches annually in Indonesia.
John has been an active member of several community-based conservation organisations, especially those associated with reforestation, and has been a team leader for Australian Conservation Volunteers. He is past president and vice-president of the Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group, based on the Atherton Tablelands, where he has lived for many years.
His other interests include art, especially wildlife art, which he practices in a variety of media, most often pencil, watercolour and acrylic. He has held two solo exhibitions of his work. Photography, bushwalking and reading are more of his favourite activities.