Thank you to everyone who made the 2011 BOOKEND presentation night such a big success. From video clips of our projects and students speaking about their experiences, to the announcement of our summer scholarship partnership with Australian Geographic and the spoken response from Education Minister Nick McKim, it was a great night. The same enthusiasm and humour was also involved in the regional presentation nights we held at in Ulverstone and Scottsdale.
The following is a recap of our 2011 achievements, with links to the new videos and other materials as showcased on the nights.
In this update: wrapping up the Crusoe Project, Project Skullbone makes its mark, Envirothon students visit Lord Howe Island, the Australian Geographic Society makes a big announcement, Lynchpin announces its 2012 scholars, a book launch ...and more!
Our 2011 presentation night showcased each of the main projects that we run for different ages of students. This begins with Expedition Class (for 2011: the Crusoe Project) for primary schools, followed by Skullbone for high schools, and Envirothon for years 11-12. Three groups of scholarships follow, including summer scholarships for graduating school students, general Bookend university scholarships covering any discipline, and Lynchpin scholarships targeting Ocean research. These scholars in turn help mentor students in earlier school years. Finally, Bookend also runs public events to raise community awareness of this work. In 2011, each of these programs achieved a lot!
EXPEDITION CLASS: THE CRUSOE PROJECT
27 schools participated from Tasmania and across Australia to watch Expedition Class as the irrepressible Andrew Hughes tried to stave off hunger on a deserted island to demonstrate science of survival. This included direct engagement with over 2,000 primary school students directly through visits before and after the expedition. Many more students participated by following and interacting with Andrew online during the expedition, with 700 newly registered participants (many being whole classes) joining our existing Expedition Class followers. Over 1,200 posts passed between the expeditioner, students, classes and the expert panel. The focus on science enquiry was welcomed eagerly via the associated teacher guides, workbooks and resource kits for participating classrooms. Andrew presented on the experience to Bookend, the Aussi-Tas Kids4Kids conference and the NSW education department.
In the following video clip, Andrew describes his experience on a tropical island without food:
As well as starving himself in the wilderness, Andrew also pioneered one of the jewels in Bookend's crown for 2011, in partnership with the Tasmanian Department of Education's Innovative Flexible Education Grant program, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and other supporters. In Project Skullbone, high school students became expeditioners themselves, communicating their own experiences back to the schools following them online. Students from Scottsdale High, Ulverstone High, the Jordan River Learning Federation and Ogilvie High all challenged themselves in difficult environmental conditions to help survey remote Tasmanian locations for Tasmanian Devils and other species. See below for a PDF of photos and a link to videos showcasing their experiences, with thanks to our camera team of Leuke Marriott, Peter Harcourt and Ninna Millikin. The video clips also contain background on the Tasmanian Devil program that some of the school teams participated in.
ENVIROTHON - 2011 WINNERS TRIP
As outlined in prior updates, the winners of our 2011 Envirothon competition headed to Lord Howe Island to take part in marine debris surveys and ecological restoration projects on the island (with thanks to Par Avion/Airlines of Tasmania and the Lord Howe Island Historical Society), while runners-up were treated to ocean cruises (with thanks to Pennicott Wilderness Journeys). The Lord Howe Island trip took place in September 2011, and the below video outlines the fantastic experience of these students and their lucky teacher. The video, with an earlier video introduction and media items, can also be seen here. Keep watch on the Bookend pages as we will be gearing up for the 2012 competition and a new prize soon!
SCHOLARSHIPS - GENERAL
Each year the Bookend program welcomes university scholarship students in various field of study through both our General scholarship round and through the Lynchpin program which focusses on ocean research. The following video clip captures the diverse range of work of some of Bookend's general scholarship students from 2010-2011.
SCHOLARSHIPS - LYNCHPIN
The LYNCHPIN program recognises the significant role of oceans in maintaining the well being of the planet, both through their scale and the oxygen production and food chains they support. The program was bowled over by the number of applicants and the inventiveness they brought to interview. Three significant areas were identified for 2012 scholarship support:
- Tasmania as global ‘hot spot’;
- the 'other' CO2 problem – ocean acidification; and
- the vital role of phytoplankton in planetary metabolism.
LYNCHPIN is therefore very pleased to announce its 2012 scholarship students:
- Jorge Ramos and Felipe Briceno: The Tasman sea has been experiencing warming at a rate of 3-4 times the global average due to the extension of the East Australian Current. Lynchpin is offering support for a collaborative project - involving ocean scientists, an artist, a musician and a poet - to explore the possibility of using stop-micro film making and adult cartoon formats to communicate with and involve fishing and local communities in aspects of species shift and adaptation in response warming waters around Tasmania. Involving researchers from Chile and Mexico, these methods of communication may be transferable to other cultures.
- Nick Roden: Support for work concerned with the chemical changes of seawater around the coast of the Australian Antarctic Territory, particularly in response to human induced ocean acidification caused by carbon pollution. This project will involve on the spot cinematography that we hope to use in collaboration with a composer, a visual artist and voice.
- Robert Johnston: This scholarship supports research into the fundamental and primary base of the ecosystem - the Southern Ocean phytoplankton, using rapid and large-scale observation of phytoplankton from space. Invisible to the naked eye, yet visible in vast biomass from outer space, the phytoplankton of the Southern Oceans have global significance and influence. Support for this project will assist travel to a world forum on phytoplankton research and involve sharing the science with Lynchpin Patron, international artist, Nigel Helyer who is presently Artist in Residence at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies. Nigel has a powerful reputation for large-scale sound-sculpture installations, museum interactives and new media projects, all with a strong art/science foundation.
In addition to welcoming the 2012 Lynchpin students, we also have an opportunity to look at the work of Lynchpin's 2011 scholarship student Lewa Pertl on giant kelp - also an example of Tasmania as gobal hot-spot. Lewa has been studying the assessment of the dramatic decline in giant kelp on the east coast of Tasmania due to the increased influence of the East Australian Current which has caused a dramatic decline of ~90% in giant kelp beds from 1946 to 2007:
NEW SUMMER SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Bookend is extremely pleased to announce a new summer scholarship program to fill the gap between our year 11-12 projects and the start of University. The program is designed to give senior school students an opportunity to test environmental research projects in even more detail.
Even more significantly, the Australian Geographic Society, through the BAYERboost scholarship program was offering three scholarships Ausrtralia-wide for the 2011-2012 summer period. Scholarships were awarded on the academic strength of the student applicants and the quality of the projects they proposed. In partnership with Bookend, Australian Geographic increased the number of national scholarship places being offered from 3 to 7, with 5 of these being in Tasmania. A further 3 year 11 students were also awarded Bookend summer scholarships, bringing the Tasmanian total to 8.
Our December 2011 presentation provided an opportunity for Education Minister Nick McKim to respond to the above achievements of all of Bookend's 2011 students and programs, and to officially launch the 2011-2012 summer scholarship program.
The Tasmanian summer scholarship recipients are:
Lily Leahy (BAYERboost scholarship/UTAS Dean's summer scholarship)
Aden Handasyde (BAYERboost/BOOKEND joint scholarship)
Bridget Dickenson (BAYERboost/BOOKEND joint scholarship)
Sophie Warren (BAYERboost/BOOKEND joint scholarship)
Katie Mulder (BAYERboost/BOOKEND joint scholarship)
Kate Adby (BOOKEND scholarship)
Georgia Hofto (BOOKEND scholarship)
Several of these students were from 2011's winning Envirothon team. The work that they will be undertaking will be outlined in future updates - but it involves Devils, helicopters, mud, crayfish, marine debris, and long, hard days in both the lab and field!
SUMMITS TO SLEEP ON BOOK LAUNCH
On 15 September at Fullers Bookshop in Hobart, ABC radio personality Michael Veitch launched Kevin Doran's beautiful new coffee table book "Tasmanian Summits To Sleep On", a follow up to his authoritative book on Federation Peak. Opening with a Foreword from Bookend patron Bryce Courtenay, this book is an amazing photographic selection of intimate decades spent with and on many of Tasmania's famed mountain summits. The book was fully designed, printed and produced in Tasmania, with proceeds to support the work of the Bookend Trust - so please buy a copy!
MARINE DEBRIS & PLASTIC POLLUTION
As described in earlier updates, marine debris and accumulating plastic pollution within that debris are major emerging environmental issues. Bookend continued to promote awareness of this challenging problem throughout 2011. Ninna Millikin produced the following short promotional video on the fantastic work of Matt Dell and the volunteers undertaking the annual South-West Marine Debris Clean-up in Tasmania. This video is a preview of a longer piece currently in production for early 2012.
The story of the south-west Tasmanian clean-up and the parallel experiences of the Envirothon winners on Lord Howe Island were also showcased in a large display at the Tasmanian Sustainable Living Expo in November. The full display, consisting of 8 backlit panels, provides an overview of the plastic pollution problem. It can be seen in full here.
Not least of all, congratulations are due to Dr Jennifer Lavers, whose long time research into the plastic pollution was recognised with the Tasmanian Tall Poppy Young Scientist of the Year Award. The award was presented by Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings, who also met and spoke with the 2011 Rosny College Envirothon Team about their experiences investigating this issue with Jenn on Lord Howe Island.
TWO WELCOMES AND CONGRATULATIONS!
Congratulations to Bookend's Media Producer Ninna Millikin for being selected as one of the three film-makers into WideAngle Tasmania's Raw Nerve program for 2011 - a great opportunity to build on her skills alongside her work with us. As hinted above, Bookend is pleased to welcome additional hands to our media production program. Peter Harcourt has joined the Bookend team as a cameraman and multimedia editor, with the tough first assignment of travelling with the 2011 Rosny College Envirothon Team to Lord Howe Island, followed by location work in the Tarkine rainforests for Tasmanian Devil surveys with students from Ulverstone High. It's a tough life! Leuke Marriott also joined our team to film and edit his wonderful Skullbone Plains documentary for Scottsdale High, ensuring that - across Ninna, Pete and Leuke - each of the four of the Skullbone documentaries for 2011 have their own unique style. Leuke did get it tough as, along with the students, he encountered heavy snow on the first night of the trip. Great stuff from all!
Tasmanian secondary students in Grades 9 and 10 had the opportunity to join a 20-day expedition to Nepal during September, coordinated by Doug Grubert, Assistant Principal of Scottsdale High School and Samantha Jesney, Outdoor Education teacher at Rosny College. The expedition was organised through World Expeditions, one of Australia’s premier adventure travel companies. Students visited world heritage listed temples, trekked through mountain villages rich with Sherpa culture, climbed to an altitude of 4500m from which they could view the summit of Mt Everest, and participated in community-based projects with Nepalese students. Our Expedition Class program sent its communication gear with Doug and the students so they could report daily to our website so that everyone could follow the journey. The equipment showed added value when an earhquake hit the region, letting students immediately contact families to say everything was okay even though local communications were down. Read more about their adventure on the Expedition Class page here.
Bookend once again supported the AuSSI-Tas Sustainable Schools Kids4Kids Conference at UTAS in November. Expedition Class teacher Andrew Hughes provided key note speeches and a series of workshops on both days, Ninna Millikin provided a series of short video vignettes charting the history of the AuSSI-Tas program (with the support of Nyrstar; you can see them here), and Bridget, Aden and Katie from the 2011 Rosny College Envirothon team spoke about their experiences in the competition and on Lord Howe Island.
For our final media clips for 2011, here are two other pieces produced during the year, The first is a sample of a series of career profiles that we are developing in partnership with the UTAS Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) to profile researchers working and learning in different disciplines. This profile features Dr Tim Brodribb of the School of Plant Science. Profiles on other researchers will follow in 2012.
The final video piece is a short video for private landholders introducing the topic of ecological burning. This clip appears on a DVD produced by Bookend on behalf of Threatened Plants Tasmania, with the support of the Private Land Conservation Program (DPIPWE), Tasmania Fire Service and UTAS. It is based on materials originally compiled by Shane Pinner and Robin Garnett, which are included as supplements on the DVD.
Thank you to everyone - staff, students, supporters and the below sponsors - who helped make 2011 such a successful year. We were able to make it what it was because you decided to "Be Involved". We'll be back in 2012 bigger and better than ever, with great events already planned.
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.