I'm a redheaded mama with four lovely daughters. We're based in southern Australia and travel in a small, colourful housebus — meeting inspiring people, learning lots and re-thinking everything. I feel passionately about spirituality, good design, alternative education, discussing death and conscious parenting.
One of the wonderful things about educating our girls while travelling around the country is that we get invited to excellent homeschooling meet-ups. Today in Mackay, we met with a natural-learning group at a park on the water and got to meet some native Australian baby animals that are being raised by wildlife carers.
The carer arrives with a wallaby joey on each hip. While she opens the session with a lecture, Brioni approaches her from behind and pats the head of one.
Not quite as cute and cuddly — but just as Australian — a young magpie is also one of the rescued animals being raised by carers.
After a discussion on the best way to handle the small animals, the joeys and possum are passed to the seated children.
The parents and children gather around for an opportunity to get close to the animals.
Aisha smiles as she tells me how soft the joey's head is.
Calista pulls away as the joey starts nuzzling her tummy.
Carefully, I place the wallaby in Delaney's lap and show her how to hold it.
Dell's happy to have the wallaby on her lap until it starts to wriggle.
The baby possum is wanting to go to sleep in its pouch and only pokes its head out to lick its carer.
When the possum burrows into its cloth pouch on Delaney's lap, she laughs at its antics.
While we gather in the park, one of the mums comes back from a walk along the beach to tell us that a turtle has laid its eggs in the sand. She notifies the wildlife carers who will mark the spot and move the eggs to a more remote location.
Although the eggs are buried deep in the sand and unlikely to be disturbed by beach users, their proximity to the well-lit port mean the baby turtles won't head towards the water when they hatch. Turtle hatchlings always aim for the lowest light on the horizon — which is, hopefully, the whitewash of the breaking waves.
The tracks of the mama turtle across the sand are an unmistakable sign that she has made a nest in the dunes. Sea turtles only leave the water to lay eggs.
Once they're finished with the animals, our girls take advantage of the beach-side location to play in the water for hours.
For a while, we were part of only a handful of people swimming on this patrolled beach. However, at about noon, we were descended upon by hundreds of school students. Today was their last day of high-school, and it must be a local ritual to enter the ocean in school uniform and celebrate as a group!
It was fun to watch the older kids playing around in the water as well as talking with the other homeschoolers on the beach and at the playground. We’ve enjoyed our day Mackay’s Natural Learners and look forward to coming back to continue our friendships in the future!
One photo taken by another mum from the Mackay Natural Learners group. Was it you?