Last year, some committee somewhere was brainstorming ideas for a enviro-conscious expo supported by both the local and state governments, and they were chuffed when they came up with the clunky name Logan Eco Action Festival because it produces such a good acronym. But I forgive them — they put on a good show. (Oh, and it was all free!)

David went out boating with his buddies, so I was alone with the girls when I drove to the nearby Griffith University Logan campus for L.E.A.F. This is the first time that I’ve been the uni, but traffic wardens directed visitors to the designated parking areas, and it was obvious where the action was at by streams of visitors flowing along to a cluster of buildings.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
This poor guy was supposed to be trying to sell solar power, but he was given the responsibility of blowing up helium balloons to hand out to the masses of children.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
He just couldn't keep up with the demand! He was frazzled when we were lined up at his table one hour after the event started, so I'm sure he was going to be ecstatic when the balloons finally ran out.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
Yay, we got our three helium balloons. (Only one made it home, though, the other two returned to the wild.)

We stood in a very slow-moving line to get the girls’ faces painted (where I spotted fellow homeschool blogger Kylie). The two face-painting artists at work took immense pride in each job that they did, and they clearly valued quality over quantity.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
No ordinary face-painting — Aisha's horse was a blended work of art!

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
Calista liked the idea of having her face painted until she actually sat in the chair. But after standing in line for fifteen minutes, I wasn't going to let her off! (Suck it up, Sweetheart!)

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
Brioni's request was for a ballerina.

Regarding the choice of face painting embellishments, do you see a pattern starting to form?

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
By the time our faces were painted, a new stall had been set up with Freckles in residence.

The koala was brought from its home at the Daisy Hill Koala Sanctuary. We last visited the sanctuary almost two years ago when Benjy was staying with us. So I think it’s about time we schedule another visit — it’s only twenty minutes away from us! (Oh, and it’s free.)

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
The girls enjoyed collecting stickers from various stands to fill up their feedback cards.

At the end of the day, we didn’t actually fill in our feedback cards and turn them in. I’m very aware that it’s just a clever scheme to collect personal details for marketing purposes. But the girls liked collecting all the stickers!

The next interesting display was by Bat Care Brisbane. They had graphic displays of bats caught in barbed-wire fences, and large signs pleading with people to stop using barbed wire. They also had a large flying fox in a cage.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
Gilbert was orphaned when his mother was electrocuted after flying into power lines.

It turns out that Gilbert has his own Facebook page, which must be the thing that modern bats do.

We moved on from there to a reptile display hosted by Geckoes Wildlife Presentations. We saw a variety of snakes in glass terraniums and then moved around the table to where a couple lizards were lounging on a log within arms’ reach of the children.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
Brioni wasn't scared at all and started petting the lizards — unprompted!

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
All three of the girls tried touching the different live lizards.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
This stumpy-tailed lizard (also called a Shinglebacked) has thick scales and feels a lot like a tight pinecone.

There was also a python moving around the table, but the girls weren’t quite as keen to touch it. Calista beat a hasty retreat when it started slithering towards her.

I was very interested in a Segway presentation. People were trying it out (“suitably” protected with a helmet), and the girls watched for a while.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
This was the first time I'd seen one of these in real life. Perhaps if David had been with me to hold the baby, I would have asked to have a turn.

I took this next photo for my friend Anne who maintains a love/hate relationship with Anglicanism.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
These posters were at the Angligreen table. The top right picture says, "Many churches are embracing sustainability with water tanks."

Angligreen makes me think of Anne of Green Gables, but it’s just the name of the local Anglican diocese’s environmental-action group.

The boys from Expressive Bikes had a small show off to one side. They ride modified bikes and perform amazing stunts.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
Would you volunteer to let a young man do bike stunts over you?

To see some of their crazy acts, check out their videos. (Actually, if you have a son who rides a bike, perhaps you’d better make sure he never sees this.)

We kept wandering around the grounds, stopping to watch the musical acts and participate in whatever was age-appropriate for the girls. Again, it was all free, which makes for a fantastic day out!

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
The library assistant talked Aisha through the game. She had to jump to a hoop that represented an object that she could "turn off" to save electricity.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
We've been talking about telescopes and how they're used to look at stars. Today, Aisha got to look through one! (There was a cooperative bird sitting in the grass at the other end of the field, and the telescope was aimed right at it.)

We were soon drawn back to the main stage for a wildlife presentation by Martin from Geckoes.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
First up, Martin introduced us a to a black-headed python.

The black-headed python seriously looks like its head was dipped into a tin of black paint. Their native habitat is right across the top third of the Australian continent.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
Short-necked turtle.

We’ve had long-necked turtles on our property before (escapees from the creek down the back), but this was the first time I’d seen this endangered species up close. They’re good swimmers but very slow on land.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
This is a bettong — commonly called a rat-kangaroo.

I didn’t know about the rufous bettong which was common across this part of Australia before human settlements destroyed its habitats. The bettong is nocturnal and, as a marsupial, keeps its young in a pouch. It only grows a bit over a foot long (with the tail about another foot as well).

In Australia, the sugar glider is quite common, and the squirrel glider is a close relative. The squirrel glider grows almost twice as big as the sugar glider, and Geckoes had a baby to display.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
Martin held up the membrane between the legs so we could see the squirrel gliders' "wings".

Here’s another owl for you, India.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
The barking owl sounds just like a dog barking off in the distance! (Hence the name.)

Seriously, from now on, when I lay in bed at night and hear the dogs barking at the distance, I will be wondering if I’m just listening to the calls from the barking owl.

And then it was time for this beauty.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
This is a large olive python.

The olive python is probably the snake behind the rainbow serpent of Indigenous Australian creation mythology. In the sun, its scales reflect a beautiful iridescence.

The last animal is the closest relative to the koala, the wombat. This one was orphaned as a baby and hand-reared.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
This orphaned wombat is about 18 months old and just loves people.

After the show, we wandered around to look at more exhibits. There was a huge snakes and ladders game with an environmental theme where children threw huge, soft dice and moved themselves according to the number they threw. We browsed through some vendors’ stalls but didn’t buy anything.

I also experienced a heart-speeding moment when I thought I had lost Aisha. She was rivetted to the spot where I had left her (assuming she was just trailing in the wake of daughters I have following me everywhere), watching a display on orang-utans.

So at least that’s a good thing. I always train the girls to stay exactly where they are when they’re lost (so we don’t go in circles looking for each other).

Before we headed home, we were accosted by this charming performer from Icarus.

Logan Eco Action Festival, June 2010
A friendly kangaroo on bouncing stilts.