Discover secrets of the Big Scrub

Big Scrub Rainforest Day organiser Vanessa Ekins (left) and bush regenerator and EnviTE project officer Sharon Cummings with tree ferns that first appeared in Australia in the time of Gondwana 400 million years ago. The theme of this years Big Scrub Rainforest Day is From Gondwana to the 21st Century.

Whether you want to discover how Australian plants have evolved over the last 400 million years, find out tips to get rid of cane toads, enjoy some soothing yoga in the rainforest or let the kids play with snail slime, the annual Big Scrub Rainforest Day offers a wonderful program of environmental education and fun.

Being held this Sunday, September 10, at Rocky Creek Dam, the theme for this years event is From Gondwana to the 21st Century with scientists keen to discuss how Australia was transformed from an underwater land mass to a country with some of the worlds rarest flora and fauna. Keynote speaker for the day is Mary White, author of Greening of Gondwana. She will discuss how Australias first plants evolved and the process that saw rainforests emerge and spread across the landscape some 60 million years ago.

There will also be talks on the impact of climate change over this time and the forecast for Australias forests if increasingly dry weather conditions continue. Recent climate models have suggested El Nino could in fact be a normal state rather than an extreme weather pattern, and Dr Roger Stone from the Queensland Department of Primary Industries will examine the far reaching impacts if this is indeed accurate.

If science is not really your thing, theres plenty of less cerebral activities to enjoy with the whole family, from guided rainforest walks every half hour in the lush grounds of the dam to workshops on what plants will grow best in your own backyard. You can browse through the many nurseries on site while the kids explore a hidden world through a microscope or get stuck into creating wildlife from recyclables in the Childrens Tent. If youre feeling adventurous you can even embark on a mountain bike tour through the rainforest, or simply relax on the grass and enjoy live entertainment and yummy food in the festival-style atmosphere.

The Big Scrub Rainforest Day runs from 7am-3pm.

Free buses will leave Southern Cross University at 8.15am and 9.15am on the day, and five minutes later at the EnviTE office in Conway Street. The buses will return at 3pm to make a booking phone EnviTE on 6621 9588.

In recognition of climate change a $5 parking charge will apply to each vehicle. So why not share a ride, save yourself some bucks and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For a full program of the days events see page 11.

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