Donning their winged costumes and testing their upside-down hanging skills, children flocked to last night’s Australasian Bat Night for family fun and to learn about the Sunshine Coast’s nocturnal natives.
The event’s theme “Creatures of the Night” tied in well with both the Halloween timing, 31 October, and the environmental education provided by some of the Coast’s foremost wildlife experts.
Activities and informational stalls at the Caloundra State School’s senior oval offered a myriad of opportunities for the 140 attendees, and everyone loved posing for a photo with the beloved flying-fox mascot, Frankie.
There were squeals of excitement when the next presenter, Martin Fingland from Geckoes Wildlife, brought out a few furry and scaly friends for his native nocturnal wildlife presentation.
Before the screening of animated comedy, Hotel Transylvania 2, wildlife biologist Clancy Hall spoke about the night’s featured creatures, from insect-eating micro bats to fruit-eating flying-foxes.
Ms Hall highlighted the importance of the nocturnal flying-foxes as our only long-distance pollinators, maintaining the health and diversity in forest ecosystems on the Sunshine Coast.
Also during her presentation, Ms Hall credited her father, Dr Les Hall OAM, who sadly passed away earlier this year, for her love and curiosity of wildlife.
“In honour of my father, and in recognition of his commitment to conservation and ability to inspire future generations to become involved in the cause, we are proud to announce the inaugural Les Hall Young Conservationist Award,” Ms Hall said.
“As a true pioneer in bat research and conservation, my father would be proud of the young citizen scientists in our community who are developing their own passion for the environment and their desire to do something to look after it.
“We’re excited to share the achievements of those who are following in his footsteps and to recognise youth who are making a difference in their local environments.
“As Dad regularly presented at this event and shared some of his wonderful conservation stories, we believe there’s no better group of people to share this announcement with than all those attending this special and very fun Australasian Bat Night.
“So now, we want to hear about your projects!”
Nominations for the Les Hall Young Conservationist Award are open from November 1, 2019 until January 14, 2020 and can be submitted using the online nomination form through council’s website.
This award was developed as a partnership between Sunshine Coast Council and the Hall family, and the winner will be announced in April 2020 at the next Australasian Bat Night event.
The inaugural award will be given to an individual or team who have developed novel conservation techniques, engaged and inspired the community and achieved significant on-ground outcomes for wildlife conservation on the Sunshine Coast.
For those interested in submitting a nomination to the Les Hall Young Conservationist Award or in learning more, please visit council’s website, https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Environment/Native-Animals/Flying-Foxes/Community-News-and-Events.