HAIRY MOMENTS: Humphrey a Southern hairy-nosed wombat and carers Tina and Lewis Janssen helped inform Ecofest visitors on animal research at Safe Haven.
HAIRY MOMENTS: Humphrey a Southern hairy-nosed wombat and carers Tina and Lewis Janssen helped inform Ecofest visitors on animal research at Safe Haven. Paul Braven

Wombats and rhythm raise environmental awareness

BENEATH the tall eucalypts at Gladstone's Botanic Gardens dozens of youngsters created rhythmic beats as they worked up a sweat in a Sound Playground - seriously big instruments made from recycled goods.

Look closely and you could spot steel mag wheels, pool filters and old chemical drums - but few would have guessed that the metal plates giving out such a good vibe are from the floor of military army tanks.

Created by Hubbub Music the creative instruments had a powerful presence and as part of Gladstone's Ecofest were a big reminder of what can be done by recycling materials.

With the 2015 theme 'Grown in Gladstone', hundreds of families were able to add to their awareness and knowledge of environmental issues and of the many things we can do to minimise damage to our native fauna and fragile ecosystems.

Even 26kg Kyle, and not-so-little little Humphrey at the age of 9 1/2months were keen to do their bit.

These two feisty southern hairy-nosed wombats gave many of the children their first opportunity to have a friendly encounter with one of these iconic Aussies.

As residents of Safe Haven breeding and education centre at Mt Larcom, the wombats, and Ollie the olive python, quickly drew in curious children.

Lewis Janssen lives at the centre with his mother Tina who is its coordinator and they love their life caring for animals and getting to know their quirky personalities.

"They are fast and can be hard to catch," Lewis, 7, said.

"And they do try to bite you.

"We feed them sweet potato, carrots and corn."

Peter Brooks was handling 3.5m long Ollie and explains that she was eating less now with the cooler months of winter on the way.

"She eats guinea pigs. Usually has two every Sunday but had her last feed a fortnight ago because she is slowing down for winter," he said.

Further on a group of children had joined sculptor Simone Eisler to create their own environmental sculptural mobiles by using leaves, twigs, berries, seed pods and tree bark.