Northern Midlands to feature in Junction Arts Festival

HOTSPOT: The Macquarie River is one of 15 biodiversity hotspots in Australia. Picture: Supplied
HOTSPOT: The Macquarie River is one of 15 biodiversity hotspots in Australia. Picture: Supplied

The Northern Midlands will play its own part in the upcoming Junction Arts Festival at Launceston.

Part art exhibition, part multimedia game, Species Hotel is an interactive experience that explores the biodiversity of the Northern Midlands’ Macquarie River.

The event is a joint collaboration between the University of Tasmania and Greening Australia, and will take place at the Wilderness Society’s Launceston office between September 7-9.

The game lab aims at raising awareness about Greening Australia’s restoration work in the region.

According to event organisers, the Northern Midlands is one of only 15 federal government designated hotbeds for flora and fauna bio-diversity in Australia.

The Macquarie River itself is home to more than 300,000 types of species.

Greening Australia’s Nel Smit said that the project aimed to raise awareness about the region’s wildlife. 

“There’s a number of native species to the areas that are endangered,” she said. 

“Ninety three per cent of the area is on private farmland, and it is not being reserved, so it’s particularly vulnerable. 

“We want people to understand the values of the midlands, and learn how to support the environment in the midlands.

“It’s an important area to Tasmania, and an important area to Australia.”

The exhibition will teach people more about this biodiversity hotspot through a number of interactive games, and challenges.

Project design co-ordinator Michael Hornblow said that a number of different departments from UTAS had worked on together on the project.

“The project intends to raise awareness around some of the challenges that the native animals, and especially small mammals, have in comparison to some of the predators,” he said. 

“We’ve spent a semester or more with five advanced design research students.

“They’ve had a whole series of field trips, met with ecologists and PhD students that specialise in different animal groups.

“The feature of the piece will be a light table in the shape of the Macquarie River in the middle of the exhibition.”