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Home Newsletter Jan-May 2012

Newsletter January-May 2012

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LATEST NEWS: in addition to Andrew's fantastic award below, we are pleased to announce that the Bookend Trust has just been awarded a World Environment Day Award for our community outreach work by the United Nations Association of Australia, as well as being named the Australian Geographic Society's Conservationist of the Year! More information will follow in our next update, but we are very honoured with this recognition, and we thank everyone who has help support and contribute to our work. These awards are for you!

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Congratulations to  Bookend's ANDREW HUGHES who has been awarded the 2012 Power of One Australian Hero Award for his work on our Expedition Class and Skullbone programs. It is very well-deserved recognition for the hard work that Andrew puts into these fantastic educational opportunities for students. The award also provides a $50,000 boost to help expand this work, thanks to Bryce Courtenay and Penguin Australia. Thank you both!

In this update: more on Andrew's award and what he's planning this year, the South West Marine Debris Cleanup undertakes more good work, Tasmanian and New Zealand high school students reach Antarctica, our summer scholarship students helicopter around Tasmania's South West Wilderness, Envirothon 2012, Lynchpin's Patron introduces himself alongside a whole new webpage, Bookend welcomes its new scholars, we announce a new partnership with IMAS, a true 'SET' of science career profiles ...and more!

MAY 2012 UPDATE HERE

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 EXPEDITION CLASS AND SKULLBONE WIN BIG

Congratulations to Andrew Hughes, whose hard work designing and running these exceptional programs has again been recognised for the spectacular effort that he puts in. The Power of One Australian Hero Award is an initiative between Bryce Courtenay and Penguin Australia to not only recognise such effort, but to help it along with an additional $50,000 added to support the program. That will indeed come in very handy. The Award is in its fourth year, and while Bookend has been in the judges' minds as a finalist in all four years, Andrew's 2011 program delivered such fantastic results that they're hard to ignore!

In announcing the Award, Penguin and Bryce stated "Andrew has designed an innovative environmental teaching program that engages students in the world around them and helps them develop a positive view towards protecting the environment, by providing them with opportunities to learn outside the classroom as part of research projects in world-class Tasmanian wilderness areas."

Bryce and his wife Christine added as a personal note "It is a wonderful program, and environmental initiatives in Tasmania are a subject close to our heart... Our warmest congratulations to Andrew." Bryce and Christine will visit Tasmania later in the year to see first hand the outcome of this year's Expedition Class and Skullbone programs.

Thanks go to all project partners, including the Department of Education's Innovative Flexible Education initiative and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.

For a recap of the programs that won this award, click here. Notably, this is the second time in four years that the award has gone to a Tasmanian charitable program - click on the media articles below for more information.


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 COASTWATCHERS - EXPEDITION CLASS AND SKULLBONE GO COASTAL FOR 2012

Andrew doesn't stay still for long, and this year Expedition Class and Skullbone are combined in an epic coastal trek around Tasmania that primary schools and high schools can join for different legs of the journey. An examination of marine debris in each area will be one of the main topics, as well as other issues relating to the coastal management and history in each of the areas visited. Schools are invited to join Andrew and supporting experts for a day on the coastal leg closest to them, and the four Skullbone schools (this year Scottsdale High, Smithton High, the Jordan River Learning Federation and Ogilvie High) will be joining Andrew for a week to visit some very remote coastal places.

We are keen for over 2,000 students to participate. Teacher curriculum guides and student activity books are available, and the information each school collects with Andrew will be added to an interactive online map to compare between areas. Interstate schools are also participating, with schools joining the program online from Darwin to Geraldton. Sounds interesting? You bet! See the above articles and contact Andrew care of www.expeditionclass.com to learn more.

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This work isn't just happening through our efforts alone. Long term readers will be aware of our interest in the marine debris and plastic pollution issue, from Dr Jenn Lavers' work with our Envirothon winners on Lord Howe Island (the same students helped test-run this year's Coastwatchers surveys), through to Bookend's Ninna Millikin helping document the hard work undertaken by Matt Dell and his volunteers on the annual South West Marine Debris Cleanup. Ninna prepared a short preview on the Cleanup for our last update, but now you can see the newly released full version via the clip below (warning: some of the images in the longer version are graphic).

This video was used to help launch the Cleanup for 2012. You can see both video clips together (preview and documentary) and a PDF photo-essay on the issue of plastic pollution here. Finally, a live-blog from Ben Arthur on this year's Cleanup (photo above) can be seen at our Expedition Class site, both to promote the Cleanup's work and as a scene setter for the 2012 Coastwatchers program.

Great work and congratulations to everyone involved in the Cleanup. Have a look at what they do and plan to play your own part in helping address this issue.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS REACH ANTARCTICA

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 If someone had told us two years ago that we'd be helping high school students get to Antarctica, we wouldn't have believed them. One of the more exciting and unusual projects that Bookend has become involved in has been developed by David Dieckfoss at Calvin Christian School, with the support of the National Australia Bank's Schools First program. The project has been developing over the last few years works in partnership with individual Antarctic researchers such as Dr Rebecca McWatters. The researchers meet with participating students on their current research, and mentor them in the collaborations and skills needed to make this research work. Students also have the opportunity to engage with researchers directly via video links while they are on the ground in Antarctica.

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But it doesn't stop there: as a culmination of this learning, students also have the opportunity to join an Antarctic flight with experts and actually fly over the frozen continent themselves - right over Mt Erebus, McMurdo, the Ross Ice Shelf and even an ice-bound Aurora Australis. For the pilot project (so to speak), four of the participating Calvin students joined five New Zealand students to do exactly that in January. Bookend joined these students for their pre-flight tours to relevant research locations in Tasmania, as well as on the Antarctic flight itself. A short glimpse of the flight is shown in the clip below, as a preview of a longer piece available soon on the program itself, its impact on students and researchers, and how it culminates in the flights. The exercise has been so successful there are plans to increase the number of places for students to have this experience in future.

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 FANTASTIC SUMMER SCHOLARSHIP SEASON IN THE TASMANIAN WILDERNESS

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As mentioned in our previous update, Tasmanian students dominated in the Australian Geographic Society's BAYERboost summer scholarship program for 2011-2012, with 5 of 7 national places awarded in Tasmania. Four of these students were year 12 Rosny College graduates co-sponsored by Bookend and the BAYERboost program (Katie Mulder, Sophie Warren, Aden Handasyde and Bridget Dickenson). Three further students from Year 11 at Rosny College were also sponsored by Bookend (Kate Adby, Georgia Hofto and Connor Eagling), with one volunteer also joining the program as a University undergraduate (Lachlan Phillips).

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The primary project for these students was assisting with the Mt Weld altitudinal transect – a project repeated every 10 years to try to detect changes in plant and animal assemblages over time due to impacts such as climate change. This involved wilderness field work (5x helicopter insertions into the deep Tasmanian wilderness and a long, hard walk out) and lab sorting of the invertebrate samples and remote camera survey images collected.

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Between these trips, the students took part in surveys for freshwater crayfish, marine debris (to help trial this year's Expedition Class and Skullbone surveys), bats, and even got to do a spot of caving - all the while being overseen and trained by people working in these fields. They also took part in school, community and media promotion of what they were doing.

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Click here or on the image below to see a PDF photo-essay of the students' experiences in their own words, with images of what they did, where they went, what they saw, and how muddy they got doing it all. The PDF also includes comments on the their achievements from the people overseeing the work. A preview of upcoming video clips is below the PDF.

“The best bits are all of it, there hasn’t been one thing I haven’t enjoyed or hasn’t pushed me, I’ve met some amazing people, learnt lots and experienced things most people my age haven’t and won’t get to until they are much older!” - Katie Mulder, BAYERboost/Bookend Trust summer scholarship student.

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In addition to students working directly with Bookend, Lily Leahy also had an undergraduate project funded by the BAYERboost program and the Dean's Summer Scholarship program. Lily was working with Dr Menna Jones on ecological issues around the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease. See the following video clip for more on Lily's work:

We would like to thank all of the students and volunteers for making this such a succesful program, as well as Michael Driessen and Clare Hawkins from DPIPWE (Biodiversity Monitoring Section and Threatened Species Section - both pictured below), the Parks and Wildlife Service, Mark Wapstra from ECOtas, Dr Regina Magierowski and Kate Hamilton from the UTAS School of Zoology, Greg Ross from Rotor-Lift Aviation, Joe Shemesh from Stormfront Film (also pictured below), and Greg Thirgood from the Sony Centre.

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"I'm pleased that the Bookend students have been involved in this work. It has been great to deal with people who are so enthusiastic about what they are doing and so keen to learn." - Michael Driessen, DPIPWE Senior Zoologist, Biodiversity Monitoring Section.

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ENVIROTHON 2012

We are pleased to report that GREENING AUSTRALIA is partnering Bookend to run the 2012 Envirothon, with the aim of helping expand the competition. This year's teams are now in their preparation stages, and include last year's finalists - Rosny College, Calvin Christian School and Launceston Church Grammar - as well as four new participants keen to knock them off their perch: St Brendan Shaw College, Hobart College, Friends, and Elizabeth College.

You need only look at where Envirothon took last year's winners to see its value: Lord Howe Island, and setting up the opportunity for the Bookend/BAYERboost summer scholarships outlined above. This year's winners will have the opportunity to visit and work on a Greening Australia research project somewhere interstate, so good luck to all!

There is still an opportunity to join the competition if other year 11-12 teams are keen. A full information kit - including videos, outlines of last year's competition and background details on what's required - is available here.

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LYNCHPIN - THE OCEAN PROJECT

Lynchpin’s extensive new website was launched earlier in the year to showcase important ocean stories and the wealth of global arts/science initiatives and collaborations telling them in new ways. Among the current contents, meet the 2012 Lynchpin scholars and learn about the full and exciting program ahead for their scienctific research and the innovative arts responses it inspires.

The Lynchpin site is also a resource for new information about ocean science and has a wealth of links to important ocean research and understanding of the significance of the world’s oceans to the balance of global ecosystems. So dive in and immerse yourself at the new Lynchpin site at http://www.lynchpin.org.au

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Lynchpin's creative and prolific Patron Nigel Helyer (see our July 2011 update) has now become firmly ensconsed within the UTAS Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) as a periodic artist-in-residence, helping bridge the arts-science divide: work that is in keeping with Lynchpin's aims. In the short video clip below, Nigel introduces himself, his background and his interests. A video describing Vox on the Rox, Nigel's recent collaboration with Dr Mary-Anne Lea from IMAS and musicians from the Conservatorium of Music, will follow soon.

WELCOME TO NEW BOOKEND SCHOLARS

Bookend would like to welcome Ben Kearney, Jennifer Kreusser and Rowan Harris as our new UTAS scholarship students helping with outreach activities. Profiles for each of our scholars will follow shortly.

In addition, congratulations are due to Aden Handasyde and Bridget Dickenson - two of Bookend's summer scholarship students and prior Envirothon winners - who have gone on to win other UTAS Foundation scholarships for their University studies. Aden has been awarded the Premier of Tasmanian National Undergraduate Scholarship and Bridget the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship. Well done!

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CAREER PROFILES - IMAS and UTAS SET

We are pleased to announce that Bookend has entered a new partnership with the Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at UTAS. Bookend already has a presence in the School of Zoology, and has featured and supported the work of various students and researchers there (see the Zoology clips on our Profiles page). Bookend media staff are now also established at IMAS, and are beginning to profile the Institution and its staff and students.

IMAS covers a wide range of disciplines and research areas, from Antarctic research to local fisheries management. As they grow, collected IMAS profiles will be available here, with the first two presented below: Professor Mike Coffin introducing IMAS, and Masters student Nicholas Alexander talking about his research work in Antarctica.

In our last update, we also introduced the first in a series of science career profiles that we were developing in cooperation with the UTAS Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technolgy (SET). A 'SET' of six of these profiles is now available, featuring:

  • Sabrina Sequeira - Ph.D. candidate, Schools of Engineering and Architecture & Design - EFFICIENT HOUSING DESIGN 
  • Marek Matuszek - Ph.D. candidate, School of Agricultural Science - WATER, SOILS & CROPS
  • Dr Nic Jansen - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits - FINDING RARE ORE DEPOSITS
  • Lily Leahy - Undergraduate scholarship student, School of Zoology - TASMANIAN DEVILS
  • Dr Stanislav Shabala - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Maths and Physics - BLACK HOLES
  • Dr Tim Brodribb -  ARC Future Fellow, School of Plant Science - CONIFERS & A LOST WORLD 
Sabrina 's profile can be seen below, and Lily's is already presented under the Summer Scholarship section above . All six of the SET profiles can be seen together here. 

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IN CLOSING...

That's about it for this update, aside from Bookend's regular range of talks/presentations to schools, community groups, and events such as the Science Experience, the National Youth Science Forum, the Tas Nats Easter Retreat, and the Biology Teachers Association of Tasmania (BIOTA).

Oh, and we did help ABC Television with a recently-aired documentary about invertebrate genitals, but more on that another time...

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Haven't had enough? Check back on our achievements in 2011, by revisiting our jam-packed 2011 wrap-up: CLICK HERE


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.

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Want to know more about what Bookend does?

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information or to join our mailing list for updates on our work.

You can also find "Bookend" on Facebook and "BookendTrust" (no space) on Twitter and YouTube, so add us today.

The Bookend program works because people in a variety of professions donate their time, expertise and resources to make it happen. These people range from biologists to engineers to artists to designers to editors to writers to builders to photographers to IT experts and more. Whatever your field, there is something you can do to help inspire students of all ages with their future and positive environmental work. Contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and Be Involved today!
Best wishes to all our readers from snowy Hobart!
Last Updated on Friday, 15 March 2013 13:56  
Home Newsletter Jan-May 2012