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Home Newsletter May-Nov 2013

Newsletter May - November 2013

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Our November 2013 update is below, but first we'd like to invite you to our FREE end of year Public Presentation Night for 2013! Join us on the evening of Thursday 5 December to see the footage, photos and students involved in our projects this year, from Thailand to Antarctica, and hear some of the big things we have planned for 2014.

BOOKEND Public Presentation Night 2013

7pm, Thursday 5 December, 2013
Stanley Burbury Theatre
UTAS Churchill Avenue, Hobart
FREE, but please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for space: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Public presentations will also take part in other parts of the state in conjunction with participating schools.


In this update: students can win a flight over Antarctica or a Southern Ocean wilderness cruise; watch the video of the Thailand-Tasmania exchange; relive the VOLCANO LAND experience; see the results of the My My Maria expeditions and App production; follow our blog from Nepal; catch up with Lynchpin, Redmap and the Three Peaks race; a special gift from Doctor Who to Dunalley Primary; Andrew launches the ABC Giving Tree; Bookend meets The Phantom of the Opera; and various other achievements and events!

Go to the November update HERE




Bookend is offering school students a spectacular opportunity to win either a flight over Antarctica (high school students 15yrs and over) or a family ticket for an ocean cruise on the tip of the Southern Ocean (primary and high school students under 15 years). For high school students, the experience will also include invitation-only access to experts at the Australian Antarctic Division. This unique program aims to raise student awareness of environmental issues, especially climate change and related sciences, and furthering a commitment to environmental and youth leadership.

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To take part, students need to follow the short daily blogs  of painter and sculptor John Kelly, the 2013 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow, as he experiences Antarctica for the first time. Each day or so (communications permitting!), John will send through a short description of his experiences in Antarctica, from the logistics of working there to the artistic challenges of creating his art. These short updates may be brief, or they may be detailed, and they will be interspersed with longer blogs that John prepares for the broader media.

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Already, John's experiences have included painting on the sea ice and meeting penguins, to coping with blizzards and even having his storage container studio blown 3km across the Antarctic landscape. Using John’s words as your springboard, submit an original creative response on your feelings about Antarctica to win a trip of your own (further details here).

 The competition closes on 10 January 2014, and although it is primarily targetted at Tasmanian students, there is an opportunity for students from outside Tasmania to take part as well. To whet your appetites, here's a glimpse of what participating students from Calvin Christian School and Kingston High experienced last time:

SAME SAME, BUT DIFFERENT: from Tasmania to Thailand!

We're pleased to announce that since our last update "Same Same, But Different", the documentary of the first half of our Tasmania/Thailand student exchange involving students from Triabunna District High and Ulverstone High, is now available online. See the cultural and environmental experiences of our students in Thailand, including adjusting to everyday Thai life, meeting playful elephants and visiting the stunning White Temple:

This was showcased at the public farewell of the Thai students after their visit to Tasmania in April, and was subsequently shown at events in Triabunna and Ulverstone in May. The follow-up video of the Thai students in Tasmania is currently being completed, and will be previewed at our end of year Public Presentation Night on December 5.


VOLCANO LAND: school preparations

Our big Expedition Class event of the year was VOLCANO LAND, consisting of a three month educational build-up with primary schools, followed by a one month on-ground expedition to New Britain in Papua New Guinea, one of the most volcanic islands on earth, with live reports beamed back to participating schools. Three sets of student workbooks were prepared (Grades 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6) as well as a curriculum guide for teachers, prepared by Bookend's Education Officer Andrew Hughes with the help of Jen Kreusser.


Andrew hit the road for a fully-booked schedule of pre-expedition school visits in May, June and July, directly visiting some 2750 students across 40 Tasmanian schools before the start of the expedition itself. These included our first school visit to Cape Barren Island, one of Tasmania's more remote schools, visited by air from 'the Tasmanian mainland'. Those schools that didn't book a visit fast enough followed the activities online.


All schools visited by Andrew were faced with the challenge of presenting a different photographic interpretation of volcanoes for our Facebook page, We had some spectacularly inventive photos sent in, including from primary schools at Penguin (exploding like a volcano), Waimea Heights (a lava flow),Sprent (a lava dome - with teacher Mr Archer who's been a part of all Expedition Class projects to date!), Natone (an eruption), Ulverstone (a volcano wall with Andrew walking up its side), Smithton, Riana, Glen Dhu (a volcanic crater), South George Town, Glenora District (climbing a composite volcano), South Hobart (physically spelling 'lava'), Taroona (a bubbling a spitting lava pool), Lenah Valley (trying to outrun an eruption), Margate (a volcano with gas clouds and a lava shower), Campbell Street (a stratovolcano), Lansdowne Crescent (dramatising the Mt Vesuvius eruption at Pompeii), Calvin (physically spelling 'volcano'), Dunalley (a volcano field), Glen Huon and Franklin, Triabunna (an interpretive volcano dance), Cape Barren Island (erupting with excitement), Albuera Street (another long term supporter of Expedition Class!), Deloraine (physically spelling 'land' to match up with Calvin), Rocherlea (climbing the tables to create a 'red coat' volcano), Ridgley (a bubbling lava pool), Montello (a lava tube), Woodbridge (just plain exploding!), Kingston (a lava tube with 'molten' students flowing out), Cygnet (going volcanic), Montagu Bay, and Austins Ferry. Phew!

A gallery of the student photos can be seen on the Expedition Class page.



VOLCANO LAND: the expedition

Having built all of this anticipation in the students, Andrew then had to undertake the expedition itself!

With the students following and questioning him online, Andrew started the expedition by visiting Cheyne Benjamin, who filmed earlier expeditions to Papua New Guinea for our Expedition Class program. The landscape Andrew explored during August is showcased in this video clip from Cheyne:

Andrew met local school students near Walindi, before climbing some 800m in altitude up the side of Garbuna Volcano, which last erupted in 2005. He then faced varied weather, unexpected high tides and vicious bloodsucking sandflies to kayak the long 417 kilometres (as the expeditioner paddles) by sea to Kwalakesi, Wulai Island, Kerapi, Rocky Point, Sulu, Bubu village, Ban Ban Island, Muli Islet, Ulamona Parish, Torkoro Point, Baia, Matanakunai, Wununulu Point, Rawuawuat Bay, Takis village, the Talele Islands, Lassul Bay, Urara Island, Korere village, and his final destination of Rabaul.


Along the way he visited local communities and schools, talked with families about their memories of the evacuations (for up to three years!) due to the Tarvurvur eruption in 1994, visited mangrove forests and deserted islands, saw varied wildlife from turtles and dolphins to sharks and mudskippers, discovered old survival rations and relics of WWII, met scientific surveyors, seismologists and volcanologists, and got up close and personal to more volcanoes and lots of volcanic dust at Mt Pago, Mt Lolo, Mt Ulawun ('The Father', one of PNG's most active volcanoes), Bamus ('The South Son'), and Rabaul - including Kabiu ('The Mother') and Tarvurvur.


The full daily updates of Andrew's expedition can be still be seen here. As always, there was a vibrant and active online student forum attached to the expedition, with forum experts Dr Sarlae McAlpine, Professor Mike Coffin, Cheyne Benjamin, Dr Eric Woehler and Dr Tim Sprod (all pictured) generously providing their time to answer the many and varied questions that came in.


On the forum, a student from Lansdowne Crescent Primary won a new laptop computer, with thanks to National Science Week and UTAS, for suggesting that next year’s Expedition Class might involve caves (you might just be on to something there!). The school also won 10 National Science Week caps in recognition of the big school-wide effort in the project, while the Rabaul Volcano Observatory donated information posters as a prize for the efforts of Sprent Primary (classes 5/6). Meanwhile at Calvin, teacher David Dieckfoss followed up their earlier photos by undertaking a volcanic science experiment. Don't try this at home or without a teacher!


Alongside the daily updates for schools, Andrew also provided weekly blogs for the Mercury newspaper. The first three of these have been lost in the revamp of the Mercury’s website, but you can still see the blogs for week 4, week 5, and the follow-up activity page. As a positive omen for the expedition, it was also noted that just before Andrew departed, five new World Heritage Sites were proclaimed around the globe, including one of the planet's most active volcanos!


Finally, it's important to note that all of Andrew's kayaking equipment was Checked, Cleaned, Disinfected and Dried prior to returning to Australia to avoid bringing any unwanted biological visitors back with him. This link between VOLCANO LAND and protecting the Tasmanian wilderness, including background on why such efforts are important, is showcased in the following video (for more info, see our last update):



Not content with running the Thailand-Tasmania student exchange from February to April *and* VOLCANO LAND from May to August, Andrew embarked on four high school expeditions to Maria Island in September and October (you can see why he was named Tasmanian of the Year!). These expeditions were the culmination of a year of training for the participating students through Project Skullbone, this year exploring Maria Island on Tasmania's east coast.


Leading up to the expeditions, teams of adventurers from Smithton High, Scottsdale High, the Jordan River Learning Federation and Ogilvie High prepared for their trips by researching different topics on the natural history and the colonial and convict past of the island, with a view to filming short information clips in cooperation with media students from Rosny College. Preparation included learning about the Check, Clean, Disinfect and Dry protocols mentioned above, and their relevance to important places such as the Maria Island National Park..



Over six weeks, 36 high school students, 6 Rosny College media students, 4 teachers, and Bookend's Jen Kreusser and Andrew Hughes went to the tops of mountains, the bottom of valleys, and faced harsh weather with the task of building a story of the natural history (plant, animal, human and rock) of Maria Island National Park. This unique collaboration has produced a visitor's guide mobile App. The App, called My My Maria, was designed in parallel to the expeditions by Year 11 Hobart College student Owen Andrews, and presents natural history topics through video, text and photos that the students researched and presented.

This quirky guide is aimed at the 12 000+ visitors to the island each year and also the armchair tourists who will now have the opportunity to learn about the topics that were explored on and for the expeditions. Future visitors to the island will be able to access this App via their smartphones in order to share the students' experiences and interpretations of what they found (the free App is currently being completed. It will be showcased at Bookend's upcoming end of year event, and it is due to be released in time for Christmas).


The following info will appear in the Apple App store: "This is a fun natural history guide to one of Tasmania's most loved national parks, Maria Island. It's the perfect companion for adventure seekers who are visiting the island, but is equally awesome if you just want an armchair tour. There are four categories: PLANTS, ANIMALS, HISTORY and ROCKS, with topics under each category presented by Tasmanian high school students. These students researched and filmed their topics on location at Maria Island to give you an authentic experience. Download the FREE app for film clips, photos and written descriptions to learn more about topics ranging from the murderous convict history to the Dragon Richea on Mt Maria. Built by students for the world to enjoy."

The participating students also took over Andrew's role as a communicator, sending daily blogs back to the schools following them online. Although the weather was very variable across each of the trips and many blisters arose from lots of walking, a fun time was definitely had by all. The students' experiences can be read in their own words by clicking on each school name above, as well as photos of their time climbing mountains, setting remote cameras, filming interviews, and experiencing the wildlife, geology and history of the Maria Island National Park (with thanks to the Tasmanian Department of Education, the Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Pennicott Foundation).




Bookend not only has incoming blogs from John Kelly in Antarctica at the moment, but we are also supporting a team of intrepid adventurers who have just jetted off to get a close-up view of the Himalayas. Led by Doug Grubert and Sam Jesney, and including teacher Bill Albion (both Doug and Bill are prior participants in Bookend projects), the trip includes 14 students from Rosny College, Launceston Church Grammar and Hobart College.


They are using Bookend's satellite communication equipment and our Skullbone website to send their updates as they travel through Nepal - so follow their story now! You can see their daily experiences here, as well as the trip background and the members of the team. For those with long memories, we've previously relayed a similar expedition from Doug and Sam, as detailed in our December 2011 update.




Busy and exciting times continue for the LYNCHPIN project.

Last year’s project, the stop-motion animation Forests of the Sea has taken on a life of its own. So far this year it has been part of an Ocean’s Film Festival at the State Cinema, and for a National Science Week program designed for kids and teenagers by IMAS, Taroona, in conjunction with the Redmap team. In September, Forests Artist, Malou Zuidema was part of the LIVING DATA EXCHANGE: CONVERSATIONS AND COLLABORATIONS Program for the Ultimo Science Festival in NSW.


LYNCHPIN's 2013 project is The Making of a Symphony. Work is proceeding steadily on this exciting collaborative expression between disciplines and understandings. Over the past year, ocean scientists Nick Roden and Robert Johnson have been expressing their science to composer Matthew Dewey, who will in turn be expressing that science back to them in music.

This is Matthew’s second symphony. The work was recorded in September by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in the Rudolfinum - Dvořák Hall, Prague, with Matthew and Nick both present. Watch this space for more news as the weeks go by!


As well as the above recording and his own research work, Nick Roden has also been busy editing together the story of the yacht Magic Miles and its tilt at the gutbusting 2013 Three Peaks Race, Australia's premier short-handed sailing, endurance and mountain running race. As outlined in our last update, the owners and crew of Magic Miles have not only supplied the vessel for use in Bookend's Skullbone program, but they have also taken part in such ocean racing challenges to raise much needed funds for our work.

Their next challenge is the 2013 Sydney to Hobart yacht race, starting this Boxing Day. Magic Miles will be one of only four Tasmanian yachts competing in what it otherwise a bumper field, and they'll have Tasmanian luminaries such as Bill Lark and ABC legend Peter Gee on board! Wish them luck, and have a look at Nick's superb short documentary of the Three Peaks Race, which gives a glimpse of the challenge, effort and humour with which they work to support good causes - sailing 335 nautical miles and running 131 kilometres over three mountains: Mt Strzelecki, Mt Freycinet and Mt Wellington!


REDMAP is a citizen science program in which scientists enlist the assistance of recreational marine users to help record changes in the known distribution of marine species due to environmental change. Bookend assisted REDMAP by producing two snappy videos to help promote the launch of their new smartphone App, launched at the Under the Sea Film Festival in Avoca in October. Here are the videos, and behind the scenes photos can be seen here:


This is a nice follow up to a long-standing story originally reported our last update. Back in January, Bookend Patron Neil Gaiman and Polly Adams visited Dunalley Primary School shortly after the devastating wildfires that destroyed the school and much of the town at the start of term. Neil had arranged with his publishers, Hachette Australia and Bloomsbury, to supply copies of his books as well as general titles to help the school and community rebuild their library.

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Since then, Dunalley Primary participated in our VOLCANO LAND project, and Bookend's Andrew Hughes took the opportunity to deliver a framed set of photos from Neil and Polly's visit (with thanks to Wagner Framemakers), as well as a further selection of general book titles from the publishers. On top of that, Neil also mentioned the plight of the school to the Doctor Who production office, and, tying in with the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary (23 November), the BBC sent the school a signed poster from the Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna Coleman), as well as other posters, DVDs, CDs and collectables to add to the rebuild.


These were delivered by Bookend Director Niall Doran to Principal Matt Kenny at the Dunalley School Fair, held in the temporary buildings and showcasing the plans for the new school that will start building next year. Mr Kenny received other surprises too: the students filled his car with balloons at the Fair as part of a "guess the number" competition to help raise additional funds. All in all, a great day, and, amidst what must have been a very busy period for the BBC, a great link from the UK to a small school in need at the bottom of the planet!

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Bookend's Education Officer - 2013 Tasmanian of the Year Andrew Hughes (pictured below with ABC Hobart Manager Jocelyn Nettlefold) - pressed the big orange button to turn on the lights of this year's ABC GIVING TREE. This tradition starts the process of filling the ABC's foyer with donated presents for those in need. Our friends from Dunalley Primary School were also on hand to sing to the packed audience at the launch, and kindly donated gifts of their own.




In August, long-time Bookend contributor Craig Wellington produced The Phantom of the Opera in Hobart. As the largest local theatrical production in Tasmania's history, hosted in Australia's oldest working theatre, it was an enormous exercise in audience engagement and communication. Because these are key areas of Bookend's interest, Bookend partnered with The Phantom of the Opera to provide students with the opportunity to practice their skills in developing online content showcasing the scale of the production. These snapshot videos were filmed and uploaded by Andrew Palmer from Rosny College and the interviews were conducted by Sophie Warren from UTAS. 


In September, we welcomed Bookend's new Operations Manager, Jen Cramer, previously of Ten Days on the Island. Jen's been coming up to speed with our projects and whipping them into organisational shape. Bigger congratulations are in order as well:Jen works part time with us, and the other half of her time will now be taken up with her new appointment as the General Manager of MONA Festivals - the people who bring the MOFO and Dark MOFO Festivals to Hobart. Very well deserved recognition of her work and capacity, and the synergy between her two roles will work well! You can see Jen in one of the quick snapshots we filmed in our collaboration with Phantom of the Opera (below) and you can also read about Jen's background and her role with Bookend here.


In November, Bookend was the proud recipient of the Environment Award at the Awards Australia - 2013 Tasmanian Community Achivement Award (award sponsored by the Ricoh Business Centre). We are also pleased to announce that Bookend's Plastic Shoreline short film, made by Ninna Millikin about the work of the South West Marine Debris Cleanup, won both the Best of Festival and Audience Favourite Awards at the Under the Sea Film Festival in Avoca in October. Nick Roden's Magic Miles (see earlier in this update) was also a finalist at that event.

Beyond Bookend, congratulations are also due to Ninna for winning the Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) short film award for her personal reflection Piercing Silence, and to Bookend contributors Alicia Rackett (winner) and Carolyn Frichot (finalist) for the BOFA Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. Congratulations as well to Bookend's partners at Pennicott Wilderness Journeys for their trio of awards (Tasmania’s Best Tourist Attraction, Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism) at the 2013 Tasmanian Tourism Awards. Congratulations too to Kirsty Albion (daughter of Bookend supporters Ingrid & Bill Albion) and her colleague Lucy Manne of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, who were named the Prime Minister's Young Environmentalists of the Year at the UNAA World Environment Day Awards earlier in the year.

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As winner of last year's Banksia Foundation GPT Group Community Award, Bookend Director Niall Doran was a guest speaker at the launch of this year's Banksia Awards at a business breakfast hosted by the GPT Group in Sydney in May. As well as launching the ABC Giving Tree, Andrew Hughes was a Guest of Honour at the Albuera Street Primary School Science and Sustainability Fair, where the students had prepared a special VOLCANO LAND display on their adventure learning experience. Andrew also helped open the 2013 Kids 4 Kids Conference in November, with 550 student attendees, and at which Bookend also helped run several workshops and presentations (including Niall launching the Antarctic Experience competition at the top of this update). A local media summary of Andrew's time as Tasmanian of the Year, including the new adventure that he and Nic have ahead, can be read here.

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At the start of November, Bookend contributor Kevin Doran opened "Mountains to Miniatures", an exhibition of the spectacular paintings of Tasmanian wilderness by Joan Humble at the Lady Franklin Gallery in Lenah Valley. Kevin was asked to open the exhibition as a result of his Tasmanian mountaineering experience, as detailed in his book "Summits to Sleep On". In the photo he's saluting a portrait of his favourite climb, Federation Peak, and commented that the paintings brought a great sense of nostalgia.

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Bookend's Academic Director Alastair Richardson has followed up his article on the Rain Crayfish with a new article on some very special Burrowing Crayfish. Niall gave a well received talk on the art of chasing burrowing crayfish at Peppermint Bay, but what's not to love about these great little animals?

Finally, as a parting thought, a cautionary video for those of us who do work on such animals down burrows...


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.

Haven't had enough? Check back on our mid-2012 update and our achievements in 2011.

fb page   twitter2   youtube   fb group


Want to know more about what Bookend does? 

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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 Wednesday, 29 April 2015 18:57  
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