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International Science and Eco Fest Cairns 18-20 August 2022

[supplied by Jenny Fraser]


Image: supplied

Veteran of two space flights, former NASA astronaut Dr Mary Ellen Webber, among the youngest to fly in space, logging over 450 hours and recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, will touch down as a special festival guest in Cairns this August.

Dr Webber, as keynote speaker, will join some of the brightest minds, in their fields of expertise, from Australia and the United States, to launch the First Nation-initiated, International Science and Eco Festival to be held at the Shangri-La Hotel from Thursday 18 to Saturday 20 August 2022.

The International Science and Eco Festival will be a first for Cairns, and Australia, hosted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, our first citizen scientists, highlighting the contribution they have, and continue to make to the wellbeing of our land, sea and sky.

Hosted by Illuminate-FNQ and Yumpla Nerkep Foundation, both First Nation owned and managed not for profits, Festival goals include encouraging youth, women, and Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders to pursue education and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and increase public support for the advancement of science, including research activities in regional Australia.

‘Our traditional knowledge is being referred to more and more by the scientific community in sustaining our ecosystems both here and overseas,’ said Sharon Bonython-Ericsson, CEO of Illuminate-FNQ, ‘and our people are achieving distinguished accolades for their contributions to understanding the nature of and challenges faced.’

‘This Festival, its conference, workshops and seminars, schools’ program and on the ground technical tours is an open, inclusive invitation to all to preserve, protect and move forward, together’, said Sharon.

The gathering will also be facilitating dialogue on the ecological and cultural significance of the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics, Savannah Grasslands, along with learning from the insider perspectives of place-based biodiversity from other regions around the world. 


FNQ Local presenters include Dennis Ahkee of Jaragun Ecoservices who will be presenting on insider Traditional Owner perspectives toward managing and improving water quality.

The Festival, its purpose and goals, has been overwhelmingly supported by government departments, both here and in the United States, including the US State Department, GeoSciences Australia and the Chief Scientist Office of Queensland. University partners include Central Queensland University, the University of Melbourne and Batchelor Institute Northern Territory. Corporate and Research partners include Fulbright Australia, American Australian Association, Great Barrier Reef Foundation and Adobe Systems.


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