Festival of Earthy Ideas
Presenters and Performers
Dr Lisa Cawthen
Dr Lisa Cawthen became hooked on bats the first time she held a microbat in her hand, and felt its tiny pulse reverberating through her own. Lisa is a chiropterologist (someone who studies bats), an applied environmental scientist and an educator. For her PhD, Lisa spent time following bats in the Mersey State Forest and Gog Range, so she knows a little about the bats in the Kentish area. Lisa has also researched the distribution of bats on Tasmania’s off-shore islands. Microbats are a particular interest of Lisa's. These fascinating creatures play a key role in the environment and are voracious eaters of insects. They also need our care – nearly half of all the species across Australia are threatened.
Rees Campbell is an expert on wild Tasmanian foods. Her thoroughly-researched and beautifully photographed native-foods cookbook, Eat More Wild Tasmanian, has recently been published to much acclaim. Rees is a force in many spheres, including habitat rehabilitation, weed control, photography, poetry, workshops, and so much else, including caring for her own back yard.
Amber Rae Slade
Amber Rae Slade, born in Detroit to a musical family and raised throughout the US, has a voice Sophie Hamley (on Sunburnt Country Music) describes as “earthy and edgy, passionate and knowing” – Slade has, says Hamley, “things to tell us, and they’ll be things we want to hear”. She’s touted as one of Australia's finest songwriters, she lives here in Gowrie Park, and she has a new album out, With A Bullet Between My Teeth. Embracing country, folk, blues and rock 'n' roll, and with high profile festivals and gigs to her name, we’re fortunate and thrilled to have Amber contributing to our weekend.
Isabel Rumble weaves stories together with nuanced vocals to create a space of open hearted intimacy and connection. Drawing upon a strong folk roots influence, Rumble offers a contemporary sound likened to Laura Marling and Mazzy Star, inviting listeners into a cocoon of reflection on the subtleties of love, nature and human relationships. Isabel’s intuitively crafted songs define an observant and soul-stirring emerging young artist. Following three standout singles released in 2022-23, Isabel’s debut album Bird Be Brave is released 31 March.
Sarah Lloyd, OAM, naturalist, recently welcomed an international gathering of slime mould researchers into her home. Such is her standing as a slime mould researcher - can you imagine! Sarah's commitment and passion has been sustained over decades and there’s little question of her audiences being left unchanged by her work. What she reveals about the world of slime moulds, their role in terrestrial ecosystems, their variety and form, often has people reaching for their cameras and magnifiers, awakening, at the very least, an awareness for the exquisite and very small. Sarah has documented over a hundred species of slime moulds on her own property, more than ten per cent of the recorded total globally. It’s a staggering number if only for what it implies is present, yet to be identified, across the rest of the country. Come prepared for the beauty of these life forms, and learn how you might yourself discover their presence in your own ‘backyard’.
Theresa Chapman will return shortly from Scotland where she’s been working and studying at the James Hutton Institute on ways to harness soil biodiversity for agricultural sustainability. “Soil”, Theresa writes, “is so exciting because there is so much we don’t know. We may never be able to know it, but it is at the heart of our terrestrial ecosystems. The way plants and soil ecology have evolved together, the complexity of that relationship, is endlessly fascinating. And it feels good to have your hands in it, and to know you are fostering the biodiversity within it.” Theresa is currently undertaking a doctorate with the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture. She has also been working with community groups and is involved in the pioneering field of soil carbon project development for Tasmanian farmers.
Pete Cornelius Trio
Pete Cornelius has been a working musician since the age of 13. He continues to expand his repertoire and impress his audience with his toneful guitar and soulful vocals. Pete’s style is difficult to describe but is steeped in heartfelt blues, greasy funk & soul with Americana overtones. His authentic sound and original songwriting is unique to Pete and does not disappoint. Pete’s skill is recognised internationally. He has a swag of awards and albums and maintains his status as one of Australia’s best guitarists. The Pete Cornelius Band is nothing less than world class.