The Wildlife Expo in Beaudesert, Southeast Queensland, organized by Araucaria proprietor Ronda Green through Wildlife Tourism Australia and the Logan and Albert Conservation Association, was a great success. The event was funded by the former Beaudesert Shire Council with additional sponsors being Araucaria Ecotours and the Beaudesert Lions Club, with prizes donated by Andrew Isles Book Store (the most comprehensive colleciotn of wildlife books in Australia), Andy Remainis (wildlife artist), Binna Burra (a wonderful ecolodge at the edge of the Lamngton National Park), Lilldale Host Farm (an award-winning farmstay at Mt Barney) and Araucaria Ecotours.
Visitors got to meet bettongs, potoroos, koalas, sugar gliders, antechinuses, fruitbats, pythons, turtles, frogs and many other creatures. The wildlife photogtraphy competition show-cased some of our wonderful local wildlife to other visitors and was judged by Australia’s best-known wildlife photographer Steve Parish, the winner Jenny Davis receiving two nights’ accommodation for two at Lillydale and others (Patricia Belcher, Lesley Smetherington and Heike Mack-Behle) receiving lovely books from Andrew Isles. School students showed talent and dedicated work in preparing posters, and children on both the ‘schools’ day and the ‘general public’ day participated in a wildlife puzzles trail which included everything from deductive logic and anagrams to questioning stall holders about wildlife behaviour and conservation and making birds’ nests (thus learning some respect for the skills bird have to learn).
Wildlife Warriors from Australia Zoo, WIldlife Tourism Australia, Logan and Albert Conservation Association, Environmental Proection Agency, Bat Care Brisbane, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, RSPCA, Focus on Frogs, Geckos Wildlife, Brian the Reptile Man, Trixie the Crow Lady and others, Eco Art, Wildlife Art Australia, Lamington NAtural History Association and others held stalls and spent most of the day chatting about wildlife with visitors from the local area or from regions as far as Brisbane and Byron.
An Indigenous local, Eric Currie, gave a Welcome to Country, and deputy mayor Dave Coburn (who also organized the oan of and helped erect two large tents) gave a welcoming speech and expressed a hope that this would become an annual event. Wildlife behaviour, wildlife conservation, frogs, crows, koalas, care of injured and orphaned wildlife and other themes were presented in the meeting room throughout both days, and there were outdoor displays of wildlfie art in progress, children’s craft, and demsontrations of live wildlife.
A series of wildlife workshops throughout the year had led up to this event. The organizer of these, Ronda Green of Araucaria (as for the Wildlife Expo, working through WTA and LACA, funded by the Beuadesert Shire Council) was sorry to not be in a position to donate the same amount of time for organizing a similar series next year, and was delighted that a Kooralbyn resident, Pamela Elliott, who ran a stall for two days at the Wildlife Expo, is now organizing wildlife workshops each month for the coming year, mostly focussing on care of injured and orphaned animals. She made a very successful start with a meeting on snakes last month.
We are currently discussing plans for a WIldlife Expo to be held either in winter (July/August) or October in 2009, and would be very happy to hear from anyone interested in participating.