AUSTRALIAN environmentalist Tim Silverwood and Canadian adventurer Adrian Midwood will visit Newcastle next week as part of a 28-day sailing voyage that aims to educate and inspire local communities to take action on plastic pollution.
The pair are en route from Brisbane to Sydney on board a 38ft sustainable catamaran, the S.V. Moana, as part of a collaborative project between not-for-profit organisation Take 3 - which encourages people to pick up three pieces of litter whenever they visit a beach or waterway - and Ocean Ambassadors.
The first port of call in Newcastle will be the Australia Day National Maritime Festival, where the team will moor their vessel at the Lee Wharf pontoon and showcase an innovative Japanese Blest technology that converts waste plastics into oil.
A series of activities are planned for Tuesday, January 28, starting with a clean-up at Nobbys beach from 9am to 11am (for details, email Will Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org).
At 3pm, Tim Silverwood will join an exclusive tour of Newcastle Museum's Deep Oceans exhibition, providing insight on a silent killer lurking in our oceans - plastic - and positive actions we can take to combat it.
The tour offers an entertaining introduction led by the museum's public programs officer, Emma Best, who dishes out the dirt on the daily life of the creatures of the deep, from the hagfish that escapes its captors by exuding copious amounts of slime; to the bizarre biting-fusing mating ritual of the deep sea anglerfish, where males are reduced to one of several pairs of gonads on the female's skin.
Sounds romantic, doesn't it?
The tour is free with paid exhibition entry ($10 adults, $5 children 4-15 years, $8 concession, $25 family of four); bookings are required on 4974 1422.
The day's activities culminate with the Newcastle premiere of Trashed, an award-winning documentary starring Jeremy Irons which takes us on a global tour of consumerism and irresponsible waste disposal.
While the film paints a sombre picture of the extent of the global waste problem and its ramifications for human health and animal life, it also explores solutions, from changes we can make in our individual lives to an entire city that is now virtually waste-free.
The screening and discussion will take place at Newcastle Museum from 7pm to 9pm. Get there at 6.30pm for an opportunity to meet Tim and Adrian and chat to local groups working towards sustainable solutions, including Surfrider Foundation and Transition Newcastle.
Holiday fun still on kids' agenda
IF you're counting down the days until school starts, there's plenty of activities taking place this week to keep them entertained.
Lake Macquarie City Council has a few spots left in its free Cycle Discovery Tour this Wednesday, where residents can take a leisurely group bike ride with eco-commentary departing Wangi at 9am (bookings on 4921 0333).
Hunter Wetlands Centre has a $2 entry special until the end of February, which includes a reptile tank talk at 1pm daily.
Bring the family along on Wednesday morning for an introduction to bush art painting with an Aboriginal Discovery Ranger (cost is $10 per child; bookings on 4946 4112).
Head down to Blackbutt Reserve on Thursday between 10am and noon for the free Newcastle Permanent Junior Ranger fun day.
Kids can get up close to critters, paint a boomerang and enjoy a free sausage sandwich (take the Freyberg Street entry into Richley Reserve).
For a full-day outing, pack a picnic and head to Hunter Valley Zoo, which is running several daily shows until January 29, including wombat, monkey and alligator feeding, as well as opportunities to pat koalas, kangaroos and reptiles.
Cost is $19 for adults, $11 for children aged 3 to 15, or $55 for a family pass.
Go to huntervalleyzoo.com.au or phone 4990 7714 for details.