1988. In Australia, those of us old enough to remember might have been bopping along with pop legend Kylie Minogue or watching Crocodile Dundee II on the big screen. It was Australia’s bicentennial year and many eyes were on our state’s capital, Brisbane, as it welcomed crowds to the World Expo. Many eyes were on the far north of the state, too, as the Wet Tropics of Queensland were inscribed on the World Heritage list. And nestled up against a large tract of those majestic rainforests, The School for Field Studies purchased 63 hectares of land for its Centre for Rainforest Studies (CRS).
Since SFS purchased the property, which comprised mainly regrowth forest, a further 10% has either been planted with native trees or allowed to regenerate. Now, 97% of the property has forest cover and a further 2% is earmarked for revegetation with trees gifted by TREAT (Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands). This planting programme will be a fitting way to celebrate the 25th Anniversaries of CRS and the neighbouring World Heritage area.
This last weekend the Centre for Rainforest Studies celebrated its 25th Anniversary along with that of the World Heritage area with two community events; a dinner and a market booth. After an evening reminiscing about the past and hearing the moving reflections of alumni and current students, I concluded our dinner speeches by quoting from a letter from SFS President, Jim Cramer. I can think of no better aspiration for our Centre:
“We are committed to preserving the ecological health and sustainability of the communities in which we work. Our future depends upon educating, inspiring and enabling citizens, business and government to be stewards of the environment. We look forward to the next 25 years of working together in the preservation, enhancement, and enjoyment of the marvel that is the Wet Tropics region”.