As a child, I often pictured myself in khaki, ranging through the Australian bush helping to protect our native animals. I’d hold the little creatures tenderly, measure them, note their sex, check for pregnancy in females, record the data, and then kindly, lovingly, release them back into the world.
Well I would have. I would have counted the stripes on numbats and measured the ears of bilbies if I’d been any good at science, and hadn’t had to rely on my big brother for assistance in comprehending the most basic concepts of biology in high school.
I would have loved to have pitched in to looking after our environment, to have made a real contribution to protecting our fauna, to have been involved in something meaningful and lasting.
But I was rubbish at science.
Luckily, writers are cunning. What they cannot have in the real world they go about getting in the written world.
So I threw Spencer into an animal-saving mission in The Spectacular Spencer Gray.
Aside from having an absolute ball writing Spencer out of the pickle he gets himself into, I was able to indulge my interest in critically endangered Australian marsupials. I got to – vicariously – wear that khaki! I spoke to people on the ground helping our most endangered animals here in Western Australia, and I’m able, through the book, to help spread the word about one of our most at-risk marsupials.
So, despite being rubbish at science, I have been able to ‘hold’ that little animal, raise it up into the light, and release it back into the world, off my page, hopefully for many, many more generations to come.
I’m really proud to be a lifetime member of the Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit them at: http://www.potoroo.org