Animal Ambassadors Spread the Environmental Message

As educators, we often struggle to engage our audience in meaningful learning.  Environmental educators are no different.

It’s easy to engage the keen audiences, the ones that ask lots of questions and are generally eager to learn about conservation issues.  It’s the ones that are only marginally interested that take lots of effort.

Nicolette with a Squirrel Glider

Photo courtesy of Mauricio Payan Luna

I was fortunate to have Adrian and Tamara from Animals Anonymous give a presentation to my TAFE students the other day.  They brought with them their wonderful cohort of native Australian animals.  Adrian Sherriff has been using animals as a catalyst to teach people of all ages about environmental issues for years.  Nearly every person I’ve seen is fascinated by wildlife, especially when it’s something they often don’t get up close to.

One might call these animals exotic, but they aren’t.  They are exotic in that many people don’t know anything about them, yet they are native to Australia.  It always disappoints me that most Australians know more about African animals than our own.

Adrian is on a mission to change that, but he also does more.  He talks about many contemporary conservation issues, and people listen.  They are enthralled.  The wildlife are a big part of that.  I’ve seen three of his presentations now, but on the most recent occasion he brought a Rufus Bettong, Long-nosed Potoroo, Tawny Frogmouth, Green Tree Frog, lots of lizards and a Carpet Python.  I think the stars of the show, however, were the baby Carpet Pythons.  Everyone loved them.

Having native wildlife running around the classroom is a great way to engage your students in discussions about biodiversity issues – whether it be ecological adaptations, habitat loss or something in between.

Tamara from Animals Anonymous with the Carpet Python and Brayden

Photo courtesy of Chanthamany Siliya

A Bearded Dragon foot

Photo courtesy of Mutsumi Katayama

Mauricio with a juvenile Carpet Python

Photo courtesy of Nicolette Solomon

Mutsumi and a Bearded Dragon

Photo courtesy of Nicolette Solomon

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Tennyson Dunes Open Day

The Tennyson Dunes Group is holding their spring open day, giving tours of the wonderful Tennyson Dunes, on Sunday 16 September 2012. It’s guaranteed to be a great day out.

This is community environmental education at it’s finest. Professor Chris Daniels and Associate Professor Victor Gostin will both be there to give guided tours, each highlighting the dunes in their own special way.

Tennyson Dunes 2012 Open Day flierThe Tennyson Dunes are the most significant coastal dunes on the Adelaide Plains.  They are the largest of only three pre-European remnants and the only ones to still have the original tertiary dune system.  Threatened species of plants and animals abound and they are the only place you can see what Adelaide’s coastal dunes might have looked like in Colonel Light’s day.

Come along and see why the Tennyson Dunes Group is the winner of the 2011 Premier’s NRM Community Engagement Award.  Not only will you experience a great tour, but you’ll be able to see the environmental education initiatives of the group (including excellent interpretive signs created by the Marine Discovery Centre), support local volunteers, and most importantly, learn about Adelaide’s fantastic coastal ecology.