Hello everyone! We promised a big year, and at just over the half way mark that's what it's already been!
In this update: Envirothon 2011 report, Envirothon prizes (and a small boat making a big difference), Marine Debris/Plastic Pollution, our latest Lynchpin scholarship student and a new Lynchpin patron, new video clips, the Crusoe Project is GO, a new book and pre-order offer, a farewell and a welcome… and more!
Congratulations to the schools that participated in this year’s inaugural Tasmanian Envirothon. The three finalists – Rosny College, Calvin Christian School and Launceston Church Grammar – all performed to an exceptionally high standard, which the judges stated was at University level. Given the effort that the students and their teachers put in, it is unfortunate there can only be one winner, but that honour went to a very deserving Rosny team.
Launched by Bookend patron Neil Gaiman, this year’s Envirothon was made possible by the Bookend Trust and the EPA Division of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment. Additional support was provided by the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology at the University of Tasmania. It would also not have been possible without our organizing team, volunteers and the donation of time from our judges: Dr Tony O'Grady (CSIRO Ecosystem Services), Dr Phil Bell (Threatened Species Section DPIPWE), Professor Peter Davies (UTAS/Freshwater Systems), Dr Richard Doyle (UTAS & Australian Society of Soil Science Inc.), Dr Anthony Reid and Colin Shepherd (Parks and Wildlife, DPIPWE).
All of our 2011 finalists have something to enjoy. We had initially planned to send the winning team to compete in the 2011 North American Envirothon competition, but for various reasons that won’t be possible this year. However, the winning students won’t miss out, as courtesy of Bookend donors and Par-Avion/Airlines of Tasmania (who also helped with last year's Expedition Class work in south-west Tasmania) they will be flying to Lord Howe Island to assist Dr Jennifer Lavers with her research into sea bird ingestion of plastic marine pollution in the Tasman Sea.
This is not simply a one-off working holiday for these students, but the culmination of a year of hard extra-curricular work, leading to the competition itself and then on to giving up time in their recent holidays to do volunteer work with Jenn at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in preparation for their Lord Howe trip.
Meanwhile, the hard work of the other finalists has also not been forgotten. Robert Pennicott from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys was impressed with their achievements, and has kindly offered both runner up teams a free wilderness cruise on either of his Bruny Island or Tasman Island tours.
Rob’s generosity is greatly appreciated, especially as he is currently circumnavigating Australia by very small and fast boat to raise funds for Rotary to help eradicate Polio forever. Bill Gates has pledged $355 million to this cause provided Rotary can raise $200 million first, and they are now only $39 million short. Rob’s not chasing people for a big donation – only $10 per person, and you can make a big difference while also helping relieve Bill Gates of his money. Plus if you donate over $10 NOW , you can also win a trip with Rob on the final leg of his trip, with travel covered from anywhere in the world!
You can follow Rob's trip, from encounters with hazardous flying fish to fundraising, via his website, FaceBook and Twitter. Bookend is donating $10 for each of the students and teachers in the Calvin and Launceston Church Grammar teams, plus per head for the Envirothon and Bookend committees. The Launceston Church Grammar students have also already pledged money themselves. So please look at the above pages on Rob’s trip - if we can do it, you can too.
MARINE DEBRIS/PLASTIC POLLUTION
Plastic pollution in the oceans has been of concern to us since Bookend co-sponsored a visit to Tasmania by US sustainability artist Chris Jordan in 2009, courtesy of the Tasmanian EPA. As outlined above, we’ve taken an interest in Jenn Lavers’ research, and - with the support of the Southern Waste Strategy Authority - Bookend's Ninna Millikin helped document the work of Matt Dell and his keen volunteers on the annual South West Marine Debris Clean Up just before Easter. Some of this footage was used to promote the Clean Up on Southern Cross News, and the hard work culminated in a display of some of the material collected at Salamanca Market. You can read more about the Clean Up here and on the Salamanca display here, and Ninna also ran a mini-blog during the Clean Up via Expedition Class that can be read here.
More on the educational material being prepared on this topic will follow soon, but to whet your appetite, here’s a video glimpse of Chris Jordan’s impressive work on high rates of consumption:
2011 LYNCHPIN SCHOLARSHIP
Lynchpin - the ocean specific project of the Bookend Trust - is delighted to announce Lewa Pertl as the 2011 Lynchpin/Bookend scholar. Lewa is undertaking a UTAS (IMAS) Honours project on giant kelp, which is an important marine species providing habitat of high ecological and economic value. Over the past few decades, the kelp has declined dramatically on the east coast of Tasmania, but information is less well known for the west coast. Lewa is working on new image processing techniques that will be help better assess the population health and distribution of the species, which will in turn better inform how it is managed into the future. We’ll be providing updates on Lewa’s work as her project progresses.
Earlier in 2011, Lynchpin was pleased to assist the organisers of the Fourth International Science Symposium on Bio-logging by bringing international artist Nigel Helyer to Hobart for an exhibition held in conjunction with the conference. This positive and happy interaction with the marine science community spawned a special connection with Nigel, who has agreed to become a Lynchpin Patron, supporting the project as it grows. Nigel's multimedia work sits well with one of Lynchpin's aims of encouraging the Arts/Science dialogue, and builds on Bookend's existing links with such communicators as Chris Jordan (above) and our literary Patrons including Neil Gaiman and Bryce Courtenay.
Looking forward to 2012, Lynchpin will be involved with The Ocean Project, a national exhibition exploring our dependence on the oceans. Curated by Phe Luxford and held at the Fortyfivedownstairs gallery in Melbourne, the exhibition will coincide with World Ocean Day. More on this and other Lynchpin topics will be forthcoming in the revamped Lynchpin pages soon.
Australian Geographic has been a great ongoing supporter of our work, especially our Expedition Class program. Check out the following two video clips arising from some of the recent work they have supported. The first is a summary of the Papua New Guinea leg of last year’s Expedition Class: the Tassie Tiger Hunt. The second is a clip of our burrowing crayfish work, including footage from last year’s Acid Seas and Lost Hollows documentary, and clips that ABC News used to report on our work assessing these species for listing on the IUCN Red List.
Things are busy for Bookend generally, but never busier than in the Expedition Class program. Andrew Hughes has recently returned from presenting the program to New South Wales schools via the Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre at the NSW Department of Education and Training. This was part of their annual video conferencing festival involving over 9,000 students and teachers around NSW. We look forward to the participating schools from Andrew's sessions following his upcoming Crusoe Project as it happens, live online from the coast of Papua New Guinea, only days away! For more information, head to the Expedition Class site and download the student activity books and teacher guides now!
Andrew will barely have time to catch his breath on his return from the Crusoe Project, as he’s been working with the pilot schools involved in our Out of the Wilderness: Skullbone program to plan the expeditions they’ll be undertaking with him later in the year. This will take selected year 9-10 students to spectacular locations through our project partners at the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and Tarkine Trails. More to follow soon, but regular updates on the Expedition Class program, including Skullbone, can be found via the Expedition Class site and regular-as-clockwork newsletter.
Congratulations to Andrew for being a finalist in the Australia-wide Power of One Award for 2011, and good luck for the August expedition that is about to start!
BONORONG INTERACTIVE - PHASE 0.2
Our Bonorong Interactive project is still in the early development stages with our project partners ICS, but in the meantime say hello to two of the keepers: Petra Harris and manager Greg Irons.
TASMANIAN SUMMITS TO SLEEP ON
We are very pleased to announce the publication of a new coffee table book by Desdichado Publishing in support of the Bookend Trust. “Tasmanian Summits to Sleep On” is part autobiography, part bushwalking docudrama by Kevin Doran, and contains a wealth of outstanding Tasmanian wilderness images printed in high resolution over 128 pages. In its foreword, Bookend patron and famous Australian author Bryce Courtenay gives Tasmania the “world’s best” accolade for scenic beauty, while Kevin’s pictures and text provide the supporting evidence.
AUSSI-TAS & KIDS4KIDS
We're very pleased to announce that the Nyrstar Community Grants Program is helping to support our work editing a documentary on the highly successful and award-winning AuSSI-Tas Sustainable Schools initiative and its annual Kids4Kids school conference. Thanks Nyrstar!
For a quick preview, cast your eyes back over Bookend's collection of images from the 2010 Kids4Kids conference in Hobart (4mb PDF):
CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE - MICHAEL (MICK) TODD
This update we're pleased to profile Mick Todd, whose fantastic images of different bird species have greatly enhanced many of our presentations and materials. We have a short video piece on Mick below, which nicely illustrates his passion for the Masked Owl, which is the subject of his PhD project, and highlights his photos of this species. More examples of Mick's great photography can be seen at his website at www.wildlifing.smugmug.com. Mick is currently in the throes of finishing his PhD thesis - best of luck Mick!
OTHER RECENT NEWS
Since our last update we've said farewell to Tanaz Jungalwalla, who worked tirelessly keeping the Bookend ship afloat. Tanaz played a central role in the redesign of the website and Bookend's new look, as well as maintaining the newsletter updates (hence our recent hiatus!) and putting in the hard yards to organise events such as the Envirothon and Bookend's support of the Kids4Kids Conference. Tanaz will be missed, but continues to work in educational outreach programs through UTAS SET.
With a goodbye comes a welcome, and we'd like to thank Josie Kelman for seamlessly picking up the reigns of Envirothon from Tanaz and helping deliver the final, fantastic competition weekend detailed above. We'd also like to thank ICS, who have been helping us with the Bonorong Interactive project for taking on more of our webpage management. Although we've had interim updates through our YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter feeds - as well as through Andrew Hughes' Expedition Class newsletter - this is where all of Bookend's activities are drawn together, and with ICS's help we'll be making that much more regular.
Meanwhile, Ninna Millikin has been busy not only with the South West Marine Debris Clean Up, but also completing a short documentary for the Understorey Network and partners on their land management programs on Bruny Island. You can see this documentary in two parts below. Among many other projects, Ninna has also been updating a short piece on private land management in other areas of the State that we'll link to soon.
Talks and presentations to schools and community groups continue apace, with Niall Doran and Andrew Hughes presenting to the CONSTAT Science Teachers conference (Andrew as the Dinner speaker). Niall also presented to the Conservation Volunteers community forum on climate change, while Alastair Richardson has undertaken several school talks aside those already being run through the Expedition Class and Skullbone programs. And then there have been other talks, field trips and more footage gathering, but that will all have to wait until next time...
Best wishes to all our readers from a snowy winter in Hobart!
This update is only a semi-regular summary of BOOKEND's activities. For more regular updates, see our Expedition Class page (daily updates during expedition periods), the Lynchpin page, and for the most frequently updated information "BookendTrust" (no space) on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. An additional Facebook group is also available for those wanting to help in more detail.