Soggy Homes – The wonder of wetlands
For the past six months I’ve been living a fairly surreal existence. Working on wetlands by day, and sleeping under giant wetland plants and animals by night. A Growling Grass Frog the size of a small car in one corner of the bedroom and some two meter tall orchids casting spooky shadows above my head at night. Paired with a giant crayfish, a super-sized Ancient Greenling and a colossal Bright-eyed Brown butterfly it might sound like some sort of weird recurring dream. In fact it is the result of my creative partner (Megan Nicolson) and the staging ground for a wetland themed exhibition which has just opened at the Warrnambool Art Gallery.
Megan and I have often combined our interests to bring together ecology and the arts; the Mt Burr campaign cross-border exhibition, the Waste Not exhibition and seminar series, and the “Small Things” festival to name a few. But this time Megan has gone it alone, drawing on some great local knowledge and photos from our NGT colleagues to shine a light on some of the rarest of plants and animals, whilst also introducing the important role of wetlands to a young audience. While I’d like to think I was a big help, truth be known my focus on taxonomic correctness was not always greeted with enthusiasm.
The exhibition is housed in the Family Learning Center at the Warrnambool Art Gallery and offers a sensory experience for children and adults alike. You can flop on the Growling Grass Frog or cuddle and cart around a Little Galaxias, all the while being surrounded by the sounds we have recorded during our wetland survey work. The gallery has even produced a field guide filled with fun facts and some activities.
The exhibition runs until June 2021 so there is plenty of time to plan a trip to Warrnambool and drop in for a look. You can see the exhibition details – ‘In Soggy Homes: The Wonder of Wetlands’- here. Keep an eye out for further public programs, like a waterbug activity we ran on Saturday morning. Not everyone can come out and see the conservation work NGT is doing on the ground so I am really grateful to Megan for bringing the wetlands to the people, and helping share this important part of our regional landscape’s story.
You can hear more about the exhibition and the types of programs we are running alongside it in these radio interviews from ABC South West Victoria from Monday morning.