An environment good for turtles is good for us!
Earlier this month, the Turtle Health Research team descended on mass to the 4th Australian Marine Turtle Symposium in Bundaberg, Queensland. The 11.5 hour drive, which was kindly sponsored by JCU, required some careful Tetris-style packing to fit 6 students and staff members, plus camping gear and personal items into the car for the 3-day event, which kept us away from Townsville for 6 days. By changing the driver and our seating positions every couple of hours we managed to make it into Bundaberg safely, just in time for the Friday night meet and greet. Although it did require a quick change in the car to make ourselves presentable!
After an emotional welcome to Country from Taribelang elder Uncle “Willy” Raymond Broome, and anecdotal keynote address from Dr Colin Limpus regarding his 50 years of researching turtles in Australia, our minds were filled with information via 70 presentations, 6 posters, and 4 workshops over the course of the 3 days. PhD students Sara and Adam presented on their respective projects and future plans, and MSc student Edith presented the results of her recent research. We were also treated to the premiere viewing of “Turtle Odyssey”, an informative and entertaining new turtle documentary narrated by Russel Crowe.
The 300+ symposium attendees were encouraged to bring items to donate to the silent auction, which was to raise funds for future symposia. The auction items were laid out across several tables for bidding to occur and was fairly relaxed up until the last 15 minutes where things got serious! A couple of members of the THR team managed to win the bids for their items but sadly, I missed my item by $1 in the final few moments of the auction! Nevertheless, much fun was had and more money raised. Not to mention all the drinks and nibbles that were provided. As a team, we managed to consume countless brownies at morning and afternoon teas and even took a small stash of leftovers for the road trip home!
Overall, it was a very worthwhile trip, and the team is now looking forward to preparing for the next international symposium early in 2019. Thanks to the organisers for putting on a great event!
Written by Rebecca Diggins