29 May 2015
Whether they’re trying to save Great Barrier Reef coral, Queensland’s pine forests or turtles nesting on local beaches, University of the Sunshine Coast researchers will tell the public about their exciting work at the World Environment Day Festival on Sunday 7 June.
Ten academics and students who are passionate about sustainability will give punchy, five-minute presentations in the festival’s Red Tent from 11am to noon.
Thousands of people are expected at the 2015 festival to be held across USC’s Sippy Downs campus from 10am to 4pm, with plenty of family-friendly food, entertainment and educational activities.
Innovation is the common thread in the USC presentations, such as PhD student Megan Marks examining how environmental art in the Noosa Biosphere is inspiring people to better care for their environment.
Ms Marks, a student member of USC’s Sustainability Research Centre, has worked for councils and was one of the team behind the large, interactive digital artwork called ‘People’s Garden’ erected as Noosa Junction bus station in 2013.
“Art can be hands-on and make people proud of their environment, leading to pro-environmental behaviours,” she said.
Dr Taka Furuichi, a geographer and geologist, will discuss the sources of Great Barrier Reef lagoon sediments in ‘Choking The Reef?’.
Molecular biologist Dr Scott Cummins will explain how the odour of a giant sea snail could help stop the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish on the reef. (Image by K Goodbun of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.)
Entomologist Dr Helen Nahrung, who is researching biological control of pests, will tackle the topic of ‘Shape-shifting worms eating grubs eating trees’.
“Sirex woodwasp reached Queensland’s temperate pines in 2009 and the large softwood estate in Beerburrum and Fraser Coast is potentially at risk,” she said.
Dr Javier Leon, USC’s new Lecturer in Physical Geography, will outline a project to determine how turtles select beach sites for nesting on the Sunshine Coast.
The World Environment Day Festival is presented by Sunshine Coast Environment Council, Sunshine Coast Council and USC.
— Julie Schomberg