Wetlands in high-resolution
More than 650 creative Australians celebrated World Wetlands Day (February 2) in this International Year of Biodiversity by expressing their passion and concern for Australia’s magnificent wetlands through their art.
Each year the WetlandCare Australia National Art and Photography competition provides artistically inclined Australians with the opportunity to convey a message about the environment in which they live.
This year’s competition theme was Wetlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change. All winning works are now on exhibition at the CSIRO Discovery Centre in Canberra until Friday, February 12.
Nick Duckworth, winner of the Open Photography section with Wetland Safety Zone, said, “I want people who view my photography to be aware of the beauty that is around them in the natural world, not to take it for granted, and hopefully to do what they can as individuals to maintain the environment for the future enjoyment of all.”
The photo was taken on Nick’s property, Duck For Cover Farm, at Gurranang – about 30km north of Grafton. Nick moved onto the property 12 years ago – at that time the wetlands were completely drained.
Since then he has worked hard to restore them. “It’s slowly coming back,” he said. “We now have over 150 different species of birds here. The photo was taken in October. Someone had lit a fire a few kilometres north of the wetland. It got out of control. I was woken up by helicopters landing in front of my house and filling up with water from the lagoon that’s in the photo. About 15 houses were saved.”
Wetland ecosystems hold around 10% of the world’s carbon and there is growing consensus that wetlands are more important as carbon stores that any other ecosystem.
These vital ecosystems must be protected as Australia’s growing population (as promoted by Kevin Rudd) places these environmental assets under continual threat.
“I use my art to get my message across,” Nick said. “We’re going to lose the Clarence Valley if we don’t do something. Wetlands have been drained for sugar and for cattle. Fishermen around here are complaining that there’s no prawns in the river. I can tell them why – the wetlands are being lost.”
WetlandCare Australia (WCA) is a national not-for-profit, non-government, science-based conservation organisation with a mission to support the community in the protection and repair of Australia’s wetlands.