Conference bag design celebrating New South Wales nature. Commissioned for the joint Ecological Society of Australia / New Zealand Ecological Society’s 2017 conference

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope your 2018 will be full of good things. This post is about some good things that happened to me last year thanks to the Ecological Society of Australia.

The first was a commission to create a conference bag design for EcoTas2017, the joint conference of the Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society. The brief was pretty broad – ‘New South Wales nature’. So I had a lot of fun thinking about some of my favorite plants and animals that occur in New South Wales, and also being inspired by the conservation work of friends and colleagues. I ended up with the circular design above that was printed onto calico bags that were available for purchase during the conference.

Now here’s a little competition for the naturalists in the audience… How many species do you recognize? All of the species occur in New South Wales, and several are threatened. If you get 15 you’re doing really well. I might even send a copy of the Riverina Grassland Ramblings colouring book to the first person to guess 15 of the plants and animals in this picture to species level. Enter your answers in the comments field below!

A second good thing was being invited by the Ecological Society of Australia to run a nature journaling workshop as part of the same conference, in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

Playing the leaf matching game during the nature journaling workshop at EcoTas2017.

The workshop was attended by a mix of conference attendees and local folks – a fab group of diverse perspectives and ages. We had a great day, and many terrific images, writings and observations were produced.

Writing by the lake during the Hunter Valley nature journaling workshop

Here is some kind and generous feedback about the workshop from Margaret, who traveled from Newcastle with her two boys to attend:

Your workshop was wonderful. I loved your easy and practical presentation style.

As a family of not so very blessed in artist skills you have given us ideas that were helpful,  easy to implement and greatly encouraged.

We have come away richer for the practical skills and great company.

Thanks Margaret! Although I’m not sure if I agree about the artistic skills – you know that I firmly believe that if you can sign your name, you can draw [icon icon=icon-smile size=14px color=#000 ]

Nature journaling at Brooms Head, NSW north coast

The journey from Queensland to the Hunter Valley and back also provided ample opportunity for nature journaling, including some beach sketching. I was also fascinated by the bark-shedding transformations of the spotted gums at the conference venue.

Thanks again ESA for the opportunity! I’m looking forward to the 2018 conference in Brisbane.