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The Huon Valley Pine Celebration

August 21, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm AEST

$ per ticket

Franklin Palais 10 – 12pm. ABC Catalyst screening of “Huon Pine Treetops & Riverside”.

Geeveston Visitors Centre/Town Hall 1pm-3pm.  Dendro Chronology Workshop.

This August, Giant Tree Expeditions, with National Science Week and Inspiring Tasmania will be running two events for National Science Week celebrating our amazing Huon Pines.  We’ll combine science outreach with a long-term aim of re-embedding Huon Pine knowledge and appreciation into the tourism landscape of the Southern Edge region.

You are invited! We’d love to see you there, and we’d very much love to offer you the chance to collaborate in some way. If you’re interested, please let me know – otherwise hope to see you there on 21 August.

Let’s celebrate Huon Pine, one of the world’s longest-living tree species and a natural scientific ambassador. Few local opportunities exist to discover forest ecology: we aim to engage Southern Tasmanians with new perspectives of these special forests. On Sunday August 21st, 2022, we will host two separate midday- in-person, live-streamed events in the Huon Valley.  In Franklin: the first public screening of a recently-filmed ABC TV Catalyst documentary on Australia’s most unique and remarkable trees, featuring a world-first treetop science segment and the artisan nautical engineering at the Wooden Boat Centre. At Geeveston Town Hall : we’ll count and interpret rings of the giant wooden disk on display and present it as a chronometric teaching tool for two millennia of ecological history.

# Event Details:

We aim to share the wonder and magic of Huon Pines through two short, simple, repeatable, and unique world-first activities conducted in the Huon Valley. We endeavour to show people the biologically complex Tasmanian forest canopy of a Huon Pine Grove, and engage them with the geographical science of forest dynamics and the forestry industry of the region. We endeavour to bring the physical sense of touch to climate science and botany through a rare and magical treasure, currently gathering dust and underappreciated.

1)  A public theatre-style screening of  Australia’s flagship science documentary, ABC Catalyst, in which we coordinated the ascent into the canopy of a Huon Pine. Presentations and hands-on experiences with the Boat School’s cooperation, and invitations to foresters, craftworkers, and scientists to participate.  This event will create synergy between forest science and nautical engineering careers.

2) A practical, hands-on intro to dendrochronology workshop at the Geeveston Town Hall.  There is a piece of Huon pine approximately 1.6 meters in diameter sitting mostly unnoticed in a corner. It has a simple sign on it indicating 2,000 yrs in age. We aim to not only make this piece of wood a famous landmark of Southern Tasmania, but also to use it as a science education tool – a “chronometer” for understanding time. We will bring smaller wooden disks, microscopes, calipers, clipboards, and hand lenses, and show people the basics of how to measure and calculate the historical records embodied in wood.

We will provide physical tools to measure out the years on the physical object, and mark out distances within the building beyond the wooden disk to experientially quantify the last ice age, the flooding of Bass Strait, and the arrival of the first humans to Tasmania.

# Benefits:

Many people simply do not learn without physical participation. The rare Huon Pine disk at the town hall is an impressively tactile symbol and a perfect object for detailed study. Counting tree rings is easily done, and opens up the conversation to other aspects of forest ecology and climate history. Dendrochronologists around the world would consider it a lifetime achievement to count almost 2,000 years in a single tree.

We will also be leveraging the hard work and unparalleled experience of an ABC Catalyst team; their planning, filming, and editing of the Huon Pine segment will be shown nationally. This is a one-off opportunity to coincide their country-wide audience with a hyper-local science event.

# Outreach:

In the longer term, we will be actively encouraging ongoing science outreach engagement with Huon Pine at the Town Hall, the Boat Centre, and Tahune Adventures. The long-term success of this initiative can also be measured in their enthusiasm for championing Huon Pine as the uniquely Tasmanian scientific ambassador that I believe it can be.

Finally, anecdotally, it appears that very few people know of the existence of the 2,000 year old Huon Pine disk at Geeveston Town Hall. Another measure of success would be if we can arrange for this disk to retain pride of place in the Hall, and be recognised as a rare, perpetual science-education structure. Where else in the world can you touch 2,000 years of wood with your hand? It can be a national landmark.

The Huon Valley Pine Celebration