Nature festival goes virtual

September 21, 2021 BY

Welcome to Country smoking ceremony performed by Victoria Nature Festival cultural ambassador Tammy Gilson. Photos: JOSH WADDELL, FARLUNG FILMS

VICTORIA’S Nature Festival has returned for its second year, allowing everyone to connect with nature virtually from their own homes.

The Victoria Nature Festival is a free online event with a series of live streamed and immersive videos available until September 26.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) executive director biodiversity, James Todd, said the festival had something to suit all ages, abilities and interests.

“From a virtual guided walk in Fern Gully’s lush oasis to learning from Traditional Owners about caring for Country, there’s something exciting to experience for everyone,” Mr Todd said.

“For people of the Surf Coast and regional Victoria, you can get out and explore the wonders of Victoria’s nature or you can connect from the comfort of your own home with live streamed events and immersive videos.

“Connecting to nature – even virtually – is beneficial to our health and wellbeing, so come along to get connected to Victorian nature with us.”

Victoria Nature Festival cultural ambassador Tammy Gilson, who works alongside cultural ambassador Jackson Chatfield, said the festival was an important way of helping people learn to see nature through a cultural lens.

“For me as an Aboriginal woman it is about how we care for Country and for others to have that same respect for it as well,” Ms Gilson said.

“How we see Country is something that is spiritual and it’s a beautiful thing. And we really want other people to feel welcome and to feel safe.

“And there are so many beautiful things that you can see and do on Country.

“It’s trying to embed that cultural experience into the mindset of people; it just changes people.”

The online version of the festival means participants can explore numerous geographical areas all around Victoria without ever having to travel.

For Ms Gilson, seeing The Penguin Parade for the first time, livestreamed by the Philip Island Nature Reserve, was one highlight of the festival in 2020.

This year, she is looking forward to a pre-recorded virtual tour of the Western District Lakes, which she helped film earlier this year.

“It’s a shame that we can’t all go to an event face-to-face, but this is the best we can do in these times and we’ve just got to really learn to adapt,” Ms Gilson said.

For more information on the festival, including a calendar of events, visit together.vic.gov.au/victoria-nature-festival.

 

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