The wildlife conference this year took place in Townsville beginning on 17th July and finishing 20th July. We arrived in the evening of 15th July, Denise had hired a car which was great. Our accommodation was also great. On the Monday we went shopping, Denise had a GPS in the car which was a great help? With a few giggles and many wrong turns we managed to get to the shopping centre.
Monday night we had our registration which was fabulous, meeting the delegates from previous conferences. Tuesday the conference was in full force, each paper presented was very interesting..
On the Wednesday we had morning presentations then broke off for our selected workshops. Brenda and Jenny did ‘poo’ research; Denise did kangaroo rehabilitation and I went off to the Turtle Hospital. We all enjoyed our individual afternoons. The highlight of my workshop was seeing a sea turtle which had been in rehab. taken out to sea and released. This was an incredible thrill, seeing such a magnificent creature being lowered into the water then its obvious joy at being home in its own environment. Wow.
The conference finished on Friday 20th. All over for another 2 years, but we’ll be back for the next one in Tassie.
On Saturday our little group went across to Magnetic Island, we hired a car and Denise did the driving again. Another fantastic day on the island. We saw rock-wallabies which was exciting, Brenda took heaps of photographs, the only one who had the sense to take a camera. Denise and I took photo’s with our mobiles.
A handy hint is to always remember to take a needle and thread with you when you go on holidays as it comes in handy, very handy, such as when mending undies [not allowed to mention whose undies]. Good also for sewing up shopping bags so they can be loaded on the plane.
It was a most enjoyable week with many laughs, interesting adventures and the catching up of friends.
Congratulations far north Queensland on your wonderful conference. Will say it again, looking forward to Tassie in 2 years.
The 8th conference has been and gone leaving, as always, wonderful memories of time spent with those we see only spasmodically as well as having the chance to live in a small space with those we see regularly but often don’t have the time to spend getting to know each other well.
The cocktail party to welcome delegates the evening prior to commencement of the conference was well attended and enjoyable. This time the WRIN contingent had plenty of opportunity to eat and drink, not like the last one when, no matter where we went in the room, the waitresses carrying the trays of finger food went in the opposite direction. As always it was the perfect chance to see faces we recognized. Wearing name tags gives us all the opportunity to sneak a peak before the hello in an attempt to fool everyone that we remember who we’re talking to.
The keynote speaker was Professor Rick Speare and after almost 30 years I had the chance to say a very personal thank you to him for his work with joeys all those years ago. I spent some time talking to Rick on the last day and will remember our exchanges for a very long time. At long last my quest to have a chat with him has been achieved.
The saddest bit was the unfortunate non-appearance of vet Dr Sarah Brett, I have mentioned Sarah in previous newsletters and was eagerly looking forward to chatting to her once more. Sarah was to be presenter number 2 after Anne Fowler, unfortunately she had become ill several days earlier so her presentation on radio tracking reptiles to determine home ranges and numbers to examine causes of death and the impact of cane toads was read by one of her assistants. The most interesting piece of the talk was about Sarah operating on 2 snakes – a King Brown and a Black-headed Python – who had eaten Blue-tongue Lizards that had been fitted with radio trackers. The transmitters survived well, the lizards unfortunately did not. The transmitters were successfully removed from both snakes who made full recoveries and were released over the following months. The power point presentation on the surgery and recovery were fabulous. Sarah was also booked to do another presentation on the final day and sent word that she hoped to be well enough to be in attendance for that, unfortunately she was unable to shake off the illness in time.
In place of Sarah’s First Aid presentation we had several short rapidly organised presentations. First, initial details of the National Koala Conference which will take place on 17th, 18th and 19th May, 2013 at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. Sounds great, anyone interested in koalas should think about attending. Details should now be available on their website. Also Anne Fowler gave details of a new disease [noted in this newsletter], Pigeon Paramyxovirus, now found in Australia that, in the future, could have grave consequences for some of our bird species.
A total of 36 presentations were given over the 3 and a half days, most kept all delegates eagerly waiting for the next words of wisdom, but as always there were one or two that didn’t quite hit the mark.
Eleanor and Jim Pollock headed a team of ever enthusiastic workers over the 2 years it took them to organise every facet of the conference. There was not a hiccup, if there was the delegates were kept totally in the dark. Everything ran completely to time. Jim brought back the hands up to ask a question at the end of each presentation, so much better than writing a question then hoping the presenter would choose yours to read. Also back on the agenda was written notes for everyone rather than a brief outline and purchase of a disc of the presentations. Jim also ensured every presenter had their full notes prepared and on hand prior to the conference start so our folders were complete. At the end of every break we had lucky door prizes. More than 60 gift packs had been prepared and wrapped and despite being in attendance at every draw, as always my number was never drawn. Not a thing came my way. Probably just as well as I had problems trying to jam everything into the expandable suitcase come home time, if not for dear Jenny who filled her case with my stuff and carried most of her own on board in hand luggage I would have been up for a fortune in overweight. The main offender was the Vet a Farm sale table, I bought almost a case full of products I find difficult to obtain locally, most of it for debilitated or recovering reptiles, the best bit was the discount of course. CSIRO books also had a sale table offering a 20% discount on all purchases as well as free postage, I took advantage of the free postage and organised to have the books posted home.