The plight of threatened species in the Nelia district near Julia Creek will be highlighted with the opening of an eco art sculpture trail ready for the tourist season in March 2017.
Community coordinator of the Nelia Small Community Enhancement Reference Group Georgina Westlund said the 1.5km trail would promote the issues that threatened species faced.
“Part of the project was to produce a series of art works to help raise awareness of the biodiversity of the southern gulf region, with particular reference to endangered and threatened species, both flora and fauna, and their critical habitats,” Ms Westlund said.
Targeted are the Ghost Bat, the Julia Creek Dunnart, the Red Goshawk, the Carpentaria Grass Wren, the Flinders Poppy and the Pink Gidgee.
Ms Westlund said key threats to populations were human intervention through opening new lands for grazing, mining and roads.
“Tourism that is not organised is also a threat. These habitats are quite sensitive and can be easily damaged with the visits of tourists who wander anywhere to see as much as they can,” she said.
Alongside the art works, the track will include plaques with scientific information and aboriginal names from the Mitakoodi people. The circuit will traverse the natural environment adjacent to Nelia. Funding for the project was provided through a Community Capacity grant from Southern Gulf Natural Resource Management.
The art work has been created by Rebecca Westlund of Perth. Rebecca specialises in environmental works, having exhibited in Sculptures by the Sea in Perth early this year with works based on extinct Western Australian animals. Other previous works focussed on the endangered Western Ground Parrot. In 2017 she will commence her Masters of Public Art in Melbourne.
Rebecca said there would be five sculptures in total, four of which are complete.
Sculptures are presented on gidgee totem poles, sourced from 80 year old telegraph poles. She said the works varied from 1.2 to two metres tall and included burnt etchings, carvings, wire, copper and tin, much of it vintage and discarded.
“I used various techniques to make every one individual.
“It’s hard for the public to get a grasp on the fragility of so many species. It is hoped that this track will go a long way towards raising awareness and along the way boost tourism and give a knowledge of the area,” Rebecca said.