cats and birds; publicity

To: "birding Aus" <>
Subject: cats and birds; publicity
From: Goodfellow <>
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 00 03:38:49 +0000
Hello All
Fifteen years ago while camping on the banks of the East Alligator River 
I counted a dozen cats.  Some Aboriginal outstations have them too, 
children seeing white people with these cute, cuddly creatures wanted 
them as well.  But pigs and buffalo are a bigger environmental problem 
here than cats.  Then there are cane toads.  As goannas and snakes hold 
much meaning for my relatives, the ramification of having these animals 
in Arnhemland scare them silly.

On publicity for bird-watching.  For a few years I ran birdwatching walks 
at the sewage ponds for the power authority during National Water Week, 
and as a consequence organised two birdwatching soirees for national 
television at which 60-70 turned up all wearing evening dress, and 
gumboots or running shoes.  Kate Fischer presented one; Noel Kearney the 
other.  The power authority put on live music, champagne and food, a 
local Supreme Court judge read her 'Ode to a Sewage Pond' and a singer 
'performed his own work, 'The Sludge Song'.  

I also organised a blessing of native animals at the Anglican cathedral 
which attracted much publicity. The NT News ran a photo article two days 
running, the first shot of the Dean in his robes with a huge Huntsman 
spider on one sleeve and a crocodile in his other hand; in the second he 
was blessing cockatiels.  This was also written up in the national 
Anglican magazine.  Unfortunately neither the parks authority nor the 
local environment centre, nor any local wildlife enthusiasts turned up.  

 Many, both locals and visitors, interested in birds also want to share 
information rather than just listen to 'experts' (for more information 
read papers of vocational education methodology), and to identify with a 
place or local people in some way (quite a few sociological papers exist 
on this topic).   Such people may also see in nature (and in indigenous 
and also local people) values which they learnt as children, but which 
they believe the wider society is in danger of losing (again there are 
sociological papers on this issue).   Unfortunately experts may not be 
the best communicators.  Some of the complaints I've heard are that such 
people are 'uncaring, insensitive, humourless.'  I remember one guide who 
ran a bushwalking trip as if it were a race.  It simply did not register 
with him that none of the Americans in the group were acclimatised to Top 
End heat, and that a few were quite sick with the flu.  That trip nearly 
ended in a punch-up.

There are ways and means of involving people with animals while engaging 
them at the same time, humour being one.  Without it and the capacity to 
relate to others,  little social glue may develop capable of holding 
clubs together.


Denise Goodfellow (Lawungkurr Maralngurra)
Specialist Guide
Ph/fax 08 89818492
PO Box 39373

Parap Bookshop
2ndhand and new books
08 89813922

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