The 2018 Hamelin Science Fair is ‘done and dusted’, but I’m already looking forward to next year’s event at Hamelin Station Reserve.
That’s because the Fair is just getting better and better every year, with more and more people making their way to the unique Hamelin Station Stay for two days of talking science and taking field trips.
For me, there were almost too many highlights of the two days to mention, but an enthralling talk by West Australia eucalypts ‘guru’ Malcolm French was truly memorable. Malcolm gave a passionate talk about the 17 species of eucalypts that grow on and around the Hamelin Station Reserve – many of them unique – instantly turning everyone in the audience into keen amateur eucalypt observers.
The weekend event was ‘kicked-off’ by a wonderful ‘Welcome to Country’ recorded especially for the occasion by Malgana Traditional Owner Ada Fossa, followed by a special song for the occasion written and performed by Ada’s son and daughter – Nick and Pat.
Bush Heritage Science Fellow Erica Suosaari put together an amazing line-up of speakers, which kept everyone fascinated throughout the Saturday conference. Held once again in the reserve’s old station shearing shed, the conference included talks about fauna tracking, Hamelin Pool geology, the ecology of Dirk Hartog Island, seagrasses as ecosystem engineers, and Hamelin Pool as a carbon sink. A group of ‘Follow the Dream’ Aboriginal students from Geraldton gave a great team presentation on ‘What does the future hold for Shark Bay?’
Malgana artist Bianca McNeair was another star of the show, giving a great talk about Malgana language, participating in a panel discussion about ‘transition’, and leading a popular end-of-day art workshop at which participants decorated calico tote-bags with a marine turtle motif.
The second day of the Fair was all outdoors, starting with an early-morning birdwatching expedition led by Western Rangelands Healthy Landscapes Manager Lis McLellan. This was followed by a big BBQ breakfast put-on by the indefatigable Station Stay team (Jackie, Dave and Denise).
The rest of the day’s activities included checking a sand-pad fauna monitoring site (set-up by Bush Heritage volunteers Len and Valerie Warren), a tour of the Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool (with Science Fellow Erica Suosaari), and an Outback art workshop (with artist-in-residence Ted Mahood).
Among the special guests at this year’s Hamelin Science Fair were Bush Heritage CEO Gerard O’Neill, and Science and Conservation Director Rebecca Spindler.
The Hamelin Science Fair was made possible thanks to generous support from sponsors NACC-NRM and Rangelands-NRM; along with hundreds of hours of work by Bush Heritage staff and volunteers.
Richard is a passionate Bush Heritage volunteer (and member of our Volunteer Advisory Committee), and regular contributor to the ‘Bushie Blog’. You can follow Richard on twitter: @RichardMcLellan