Tas Rocks hide-and-seek challenge on a roll with kids

ABC Radio Hobart

By

Carol Rääbus

Posted

October 04, 2017 08:00:00

Video: Tas Rocks flashmob at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

(ABC News)
(ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
The Tasmanian group was set up by Greta John as a way of dealing with the pain of losing her father.”I actually started it in late May after the tragic murder of my father,” Ms John said.”I was at a real loss, feeling very upset about everything; all my family are in South Africa.”Being so low I thought I really needed to do something for people and also for myself to pick myself back up.”Ms John had come across WA Rocks on social media and the idea appealed to her as something simple families could do together.The way it works is people decorate rocks, take a photo of them and alert a dedicated Facebook group that the rocks have been “dropped” in a location. It’s just amazing.”Details and tips on how to play the Tas Rocks game are on Facebook. Photo:
Kids have just as much fun hiding the rocks as they do finding them. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
“We have to be very careful of who we approve, we do actually screen members because we’re a child-friendly group.”We do get a lot of trolls, we do get people trying to cause trouble in the group and destabilise the group.”[But] what really motivates me and what excites me about Tas Rocks is we get quite a lot of messages saying, ‘thank you, you don’t realise how much good you’re doing for us personally’.”Ms Whyte said seeing her kids enjoy decorating and hiding rocks and spreading that joy through social media made the hours of admin work worthwhile.”We’re not in it for recognition,” she said.”We’re just in it to just facilitate something for families to have fun, get outside, get off devices and explore different parks.”Sometimes my kids and I will hit up six or seven parks on a weekend now looking for rocks and dropping rocks. Did you have pet rocks as a kid? The hunt is then on, photos of the finds are taken, and then the rocks are dropped elsewhere for others to find.Kaz Whyte helps Ms John run the Tas Rocks Facebook group, with the pair screening and approving each post and member request, which can take up hours a day.”It does take up a lot of our time,” Ms Whyte said.”We’ve got five kids between us and I work as a teacher and Greta’s studying business.”The Facebook group has grown to more than 15,000 in five months.”It’s a very busy job,” Ms John said. Believe it or not, painted rocks are the must-have item for children these school holidays.Tas Rocks is part of an international phenomenon in which people decorate rocks and hide them in public parks and spaces.Kids then look for them and rehide them in a new spot to keep the game going. Photo:
Kaz Whyte (left) and Greta John started Tas Rocks to give families something easy and fun to do together.
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Hobart 7000

Bees keep father-daughter duo buzzing this time of year

“Suddenly they’re being stung from the front door because the whole temperament of the hive has changed.”To help sweeten the vibe of the hive, Dermot said it was not uncommon for a queen to be removed.”The old queen is removed and a new one is installed,” he said. Photo:
Dermot and Sarah AsIs Sha’Non’s fascination with bees began more than seven years ago. For Dermot AsIs Sha’Non and his daughter Sarah, spending quality time together often involves swarms of bees — and the occasional sting. They get used to her over a day or two, then you release her into the colony.”It doesn’t always work but you just keep trying until it does.”

Photo:
Dermot and Sarah enjoy collecting swarms of bees in their spare time. (Supplied: Lee Grant/Molonglo Group 2017)
Queen is behind angry hives According to Dermot, the queen bee determines the mood of the hive.”We often get calls from people who might have bees in a possum box or their walls … (Supplied: Lee Grant/Molonglo Group 2017) they might just pop up in your backyard.”

Photo:
Dermot says collecting swarms or colonies from walls can be challenging. “Their purpose is to create a new colony … “There are queen breeders out there who send bees in the mail, so you get a little buzzing package in your letter box.”You install a queen cage in the hive. (Supplied: Lee Grant/Molonglo Group 2017)
“I was about 11 when we first began and we haven’t looked back,” Sarah said.”I also enjoy spending time with my dad.”As a teenager it can sometimes be hard to find something in common with parents, but we’ve got bees.”What is swarm collecting?The father-daughter duo have come a long way since they first suited up.Dermot is now vice president of the Beekeepers Association of the ACT, and the pair spend their spare time volunteering as swarm collectors. “When we first began, bee stings would make us swell like a balloon,” 19-year-old Sarah said.”Now we don’t swell, but we still feel that pain of the sting just as much.”But the pain does not deter them from pursing a hobby they both adore. “If bees have set up camp in your backyard for a few days, or sometimes a few years, dad and I are the people to call,” Sarah said.Spring, in particular, is a busy time.”This time of the year about half of a colony transfer its bees outside of a hive as a swarm,” she said. and the bees have been nice and gentle and they’ve walked passed them every day,” he said.
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Canberra 2600
ABC Radio Canberra

By

Sophie Kesteven

Posted

October 04, 2017 08:30:00

Photo:
Father and daughter Dermot and Sarah AsIs Sha’Non are swarm collectors in Canberra. (Supplied: Lee Grant/Molonglo Group 2017)

Outback toilets inspire Daily Bog blog on boys’ trip around Australia

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Creating playgrounds that will blow helicopter parents' minds
By

Jennifer King

Updated

October 04, 2017 16:11:51

Photo:
The Concrete Crappa at Minnipa, South Australia, was one of Theo and Quinn Huber’s favourite bogs. (Supplied: Meg Norling)
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Travelling Australia in the Caravan of Crazy
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Upper Lansdowne 2430

5 ways kids can benefit from being outside
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With innovators like this, it seems the future of camping ablutions in Australia is in good hands. What did Quinn and Theo discover?I think they could do a lot better with making this toilet business have a bit better maintenance — QuinnMale toilets are normally grottier than the females’ — Quinn and TheoI put my hand in the bowl to save a frog; I love frogs — QuinnIt’s so upsetting how much plastic we saw — Theo (Supplied: Meg Norling)
Trying to pin the boys down to name their favourites is difficult because they have so much to say about each of them.Among the best ‘bogs’ were those they dug themselves, excavating the deep red soil with their spades and adding toilet roll holders made of twigs.”One time I dug up someone else’s and that’s the worst thing,” Quinn recalled with a squeal.The toilet known as Camelot, at Sceale Bay in SA, was a stone-built long drop with a window facing the sea, where the boys were treated to the sight of dolphins backflipping in the waves. (Supplied: Meg Norling)
The trip encouraged the boys in their outdoor play as they explored creeks, chased tumbleweed, rode their bikes in the dust and discovered new tactile sensations.Their adventure ticks all the boxes in a movement encouraging Australia’s kids to step away from their screens and get outdoors and dirty, with research showing the wide variety of benefits to children’s minds and bodies.Along the way, they have seen waterholes, hot springs, road trains, Aboriginal art, caves — and toilets of every variety, documented by the boys in their Daily Bog Blog. Photo:
Quinn (L) and Theo loved digging their own toilets and adding all the luxuries, like toilet paper supported on branches. (Supplied: Meg Norling)
‘Scary’ automatic toiletsBut what terrified Quinn and Theo the most were the dreaded Exeloo automated self-cleaning toilets at Katherine in the Northern Territory, and Halls Creek in Western Australia.”The scary thing is, you walk into there and the door closes and you think you’re being spied on and they play music,” Theo said with a shudder.While neither had seen snakes or redbacks, they reported several dead bats and quite a lot of other spiders.Animal lover Quinn also tried to save a green frog on the lip of one flushing toilet.”I put my hand in the bowl to splash it with water; I love frogs,” Quinn said, as his mother recoiled. Photo:
Coober Pedy was one of Quinn and Theo’s stopovers on their family trip exploring Australia. Photo:
One of the many long drop toilets spotted by the Huber boys on their travels. Ask most parents of young children and they will tell you the mention of bottoms, poo or farts incites fits of incomprehensible giggles among their offspring.So it is no surprise that remote outback toilets have captured the imaginations of Quinn Huber, 10, and his brother Theo, 9, during a trip around Australia.The boys, from Lansdowne near Taree in New South Wales, have spent the past six months travelling with their parents Meg Norling and Florian Huber, hauling a camper trailer named Rondi.The family travelled clockwise from their hometown, through South Australia, across the Nullarbor, into the Kimberley and down the centre. (Supplied: Meg Norling)
Unlocking new worldsMs Norling said she had always planned to take her sons travelling before they reached high school or “didn’t want to hang out with us anymore”.She said they had met a few families travelling with their children, usually for three to six months at a time, and one family who had been on the road three years.”Six months is nothing in their little lives, and a few things have happened on the trip,” she said.”They’re really into their books, which is a side effect I wasn’t expecting, and their relationship has strengthened. Video: The boys had plenty of fun with tumbleweed

(ABC News)
Unearthing the best rural pit-stopsBut why toilets, when there is so much else to captivate the minds of two energetic and imaginative children? “Well, you use them several times a day; you’re on the road and they’re the only structure around,” Theo explained.”The first time, when we get to places, we go over to the toilets and check them out.”

Photo:
The boys spotted dolphins in the waves from the window of Camelot at Sceale Bay, South Australia. (Supplied: Meg Norling)
“Quinn has loved all the different insects that he’s found and taken photos of, and Theo has named every variety of car along the way.”Ms Norling said the boys were being schooled via distance education and received satchels in the mail every two to four weeks containing their teaching resources.With Quinn in Year 5 and Theo in Year 3, the family arranged to spend a few days in Albany, Western Australia, to do Naplan — with both boys doing “really well” in the test.The boys have just arrived home and thanks to their ‘hands-on’ research, have designed what they consider to be the perfect toilet.It is named ‘Sat On’ and the logo features a toilet seat for the ‘O’. (Supplied: Meg Norling)
Another memorable loo was the Concrete Crappa in Minnipa, South Australia, while the long drop on Kangaroo Island caused some consternation.”One on Kangaroo Island had bees down it and we were scared bees would bite our bums,” the boys chimed in unison.In fact, “stinky, fly-filled” long drops were the stuff of nightmares, with both boys fearful of a rear-end attack by crocodiles or a cane toad. Photo:
Quinn (R) and Theo Huber have burnt lots of energy playing, exploring and discovering new things on their trip, in between lessons. Photo:
Quinn and Theo have designed the ‘Sat On’ toilet of the future after studying outback loos.

Dog lovers unleash their artistic side for Poochibalds

Map:
Rosny 7018
ABC Radio Hobart

By

Carol Rääbus

Posted

October 04, 2017 11:56:44

Photo:
Anna Williams’ winning portrait in linocut in the centre on display at the Schoolhouse Gallery. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
(ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
“But I love drawing and linocuts, that’s my hobby, what I really enjoy doing.”While the Poochibalds offer prizes for first and second place in the adult and junior categories, the real aim of the art show is to bring dog and art lovers together.The entries are on display until Sunday in the Schoolhouse Gallery at Rosny Farm from 11:00am to 5:00pm. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)

Photo:
A portrait in a pawtrait in the adult section. Photo:
Anna Williams with her dog, Cloudy. Basil is a good boy and his pawtrait is this year’s winner of the Poochibald Art Prize.The award is Clarence City Council’s take on the Archibald Prize, with less prize money but more pats. Photo:
They’re all good dogs, Brent. Photo:
It’s hard to walk through the gallery without a few “aws” being said. (Supplied: Clarence City Council)
Each year children and adults unleash their talent and celebrate doggos in all their glory.This year saw 110 drawings, paintings, prints, linocuts and collages of dogs of all shapes and sizes hung on the walls of the Schoolhouse Gallery in Rosny. All hounds are welcome at the Poochibald. Photo:
The love of all doggos and puppies is the main driving force behind most of the artwork. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)

Photo:
There are 110 artworks on display, from 36 adult artists and the rest by students of various ages. Photo:
Liam Ludlow won the junior section with his painting of Azzie Bear (left). (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus) (Supplied: Anna Williams)
Anna Williams claimed the adult category first place prize of a $300 gift voucher with her linocut portrait of her niece’s dog Basil.”I chose him because of his brindle coat and his brown and black patches,” Ms Williams told Jo Spargo on ABC Radio Hobart.She said for a linocut to work, the subject needed plenty of colour variation which was one reason why she chose Basil the blue heeler over her own dog Cloudy.”Basil is very attractive and young,” she said. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
“Cloudy is elderly, growing a few lumps and some hair in the wrong places and I love her dearly — I think she’s beautiful but I don’t think other people would.”Ms Williams is a ceramist by trade but was encouraged to enter the portrait competition by a friend.”I do ceramics to teach and make my money that way,” she said.

‘Kid-preneur’s’ autism app ASD and Me goes global

(Supplied: US Department of State) ABC North Qld

By

Nathalie Fernbach

Posted

October 04, 2017 13:02:19

Photo:
Creator of the ASD and Me app, Hamish Finlayson.
Trialling 'serious games' for children with autism
Autistic child genius app developer hopes to meet Obama

(Supplied: Graeme Finlayson)
Autism’s huge cost to familiesA 2014 West Australian study suggested that families who had a child with autism incurred a cost of $35,000 a year in lost income, medical, and equipment costs.But Autism Awareness Australia suggests that amount could be as high as $50,000.Mr Finlayson said part of the driver in developing Hamish’s app was to reduce the costs associated with the condition by providing free tools to manage it better.”He is trying to design it so that it works, not just for kids but for middle school, when you go to uni, or try to get a job,” he said.”Hamish is trying to focus on the whole 24/7 experience but also the fact that autism ages with you; it doesn’t go away, your challenges just become different.”Hamish is currently expanding his app to include tools for non-ASD people to manage an interaction with someone on the spectrum and to experience what it is like to have the condition.After he returns from the summit in Hyderabad, he will work on developing virtual reality components to include in the app to help people with autism learn new social and life skills. Photo:
Hamish answers questions about his app at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016. (Supplied: Graeme Finlayson)
While there, his work was acknowledged by then US secretary of state, John Kerry.After the event, Hamish was invited to the Facebook campus where he was offered a FBStart grant to continue his work on the app.He said the experience and the contacts he made in the US helped him streamline production.”It hasn’t affected what I am making, but the rate I am making it at,” Hamish said.The app has been downloaded hundreds of times and is being used in 54 countries.Hamish’s father Graeme Finlayson said one of the things that made Hamish unique was his determination and perseverance.”There aren’t too many kid-preneurs out there,” Mr Finlayson said.”There are kids out there and there are (young entrepreneur) programs that you can get onto but you have got to have the will and the passion to make it happen and Hamish does.”

Photo:
Hamish, pictured with Facebook’s Ime Archibong, says the contacts he made in the US have helped him streamline production. (ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach)
The theory behind the apps is that by repeating coping strategies in a game setting, people with autism will be better equipped to cope in real life situations.Hamish said working on the app had also helped him manage his condition.”Researching problems with autism and how to solve them helps me in a way,” he said.”Figuring out the solutions also helped me figure out my problems with recognising emotions.”Summit’s youngest entrepreneur wows Silicon ValleyHamish was invited to attend last year’s GES summit in Silicon Valley when he was just 11. Hamish is planning to develop autism tools that incorporate virtual reality. Photo:
Hamish and Graeme Finlayson. (ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach) Photo:
The ASD and Me app helps those with autism to learn strategies to help manage the condition through repetitive games. Twelve-year-old Townsville student Hamish Finlayson and advisor to the President of the United States of America, Ivanka Trump, may not seem to have much in common, but they are set to cross paths.Both will attend next month’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, India.Ms Trump is a guest speaker and Hamish will be there pitching his ASD and Me app to investors and fellow entrepreneurs.Hamish has created five free apps — four have an environmental theme while the ASD and Me app is a tool to educate people about autism spectrum disorder (ASD).”One percent of the world has this disorder and not that many people understand it, so I am trying to help them understand it,” said Hamish, who also has autism.Managing autism with a turtleThe ASD and Me app helps users identify ways to manage autistic behaviour through games involving a cartoon turtle.Triple T Turtle is tasked with such jobs as finding noise-cancelling headphones to reduce stress levels at a live gig or to find a dog to pat to lower anxiety ahead of a school exam.
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