- Friday 21 June 2019
Grab your walking shoes along with your mobile device and join in the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary Eco Hunt these school holidays for your chance to win a range of great prizes.
To kick start the Eco-Hunt and provide some tips on how to play, world #2 ranked QuestaGame player, ex Australian Defence Forces officer, Campbell Paine and #2 Queensland ranked player, UQ entomologist, Dr Penny Mills will lead a ‘how to play guided walk’ on June 29 from 10am – noon at the sanctuary at 44 Sports Rd, Bli Bli.
Local Division 9 Councillor Stephen Robinson said the aim of the competition was for players to explore the wetlands and find as many birds, butterflies, insects, crabs and other animals as possible living at the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary.
“Keep your eyes and ears peeled and mobile device with camera at the ready, then simply submit your captured sightings through the free QuestaGame app,” Cr Robinson said.
“The rarer and more interesting your finds, the more points you’ll receive. You also get bonus points if you can identify your sightings.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for families to get out into nature during the school holidays and have fun.”
There are also some great prizes to be won including an Eco-River Rides Maroochy River and Wetlands Solar Powered Canoe Tour, two Cruise Maroochy family passes and $100 IGA and the Maroochy River Resort Restaurant vouchers.
Mr Paine provided some quick QuestaGame tips in advance of the Eco-Hunt events to help put players on the front-foot.
“The best advice I can give is be patient and use your senses - sight and hearing, and be aware that when you are still, it’s far easier to see the movement of something else,” he said.
“When you first start looking for birds, there is no doubt that there is excitement when you see a flash of colour, but many of the wetland’s spectacular birds such as the azure kingfisher, have learnt to stay out of sight - so keep your eyes peeled.
“If you look carefully through the undergrowth you may even be able to spot the very cute red-backed finches and fairy wrens.
“A bit easier to see, but just as colourful, are eastern yellow robins, golden whistlers and rufous fantails.”
It’s not all fun and games though, there’s also a serious side, as players are contributing to increasing knowledge of biodiversity in the sanctuary.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the Eco-Hunt turned visitors to the sanctuary into citizen scientists who helped in the understanding and preservation of the great diversity of life that makes the sanctuary home.
“Last year we found 99 different animals living in the sanctuary including bees, ants, butterflies, beetles, birds, crabs, shells, flies, mosquitoes, and millipedes,” Cr McKay said.
“It will be interesting to see whether we can top that this year.”
Cr McKay said the Eco-Hunt was also a great example of council and the community partnering together.
“This event is only made possible by the great support it receives from the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary Support Group, made up of local hard-working volunteers who look after the sanctuary, and local businesses that provide the great range of prizes,” she said.
“The tireless effort and ongoing support of the volunteers is absolutely invaluable.”
Want an added Eco-Hunt advantage? Join these additional events to help you see more and earn extra points:
Saturday June 29, 10am – 12 noon:
How to Play – Guided Walk with top ranked expert QuestaGamers Campbell Paine and Dr Penny Mills
Tuesday July 2, 10am – 12 noon:
Insect walk and survey with Bugs Ed
Wednesday July 10, 9 – 11am:
Guided bird walk with Sunshine Coast Chapter of Birdlife Australia
Friday July 12, 10.30am – 2.30pm:
A special Eco-Hunt cruise with Cruise Maroochy
Don’t forget to bring your smart phone or tablet. Hats, sunscreen, water and mozzie repellent is also recommended.
Bookings essential via council’s events page https://events.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.
While there, be sure to check out the many other fun and creative workshops for kids during the school holidays at both the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary and Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Garden.