In June 2012 the Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.Â won an Inspiring Australia grant to run a series of free public events “Parasites in Power” to explore the world of parasites.
â€œWho poohed in my foodâ€Â hands-on DNA extraction workshop was run in June 2013 at CONASTA 62 Australian science teachers association conference in Melbourne. This workshop is part of â€œParasites in Powerâ€ â€œtoolboxâ€ of workshop ideas and resources. Science teachers and scientists who would like to run this workshop please email Lisa.Jones1@jcu.edu.au for resources and contacts.
The ASP held jointÂ â€œInspiring Australiaâ€ public events in Perth with our partnersÂ Perth Zoo, Scitech and Murdoch University in August 2013 with a focus on veterinary parasites.
“Parasites in Focus” featured onÂ Saturday 24thÂ August 2013 at Perth Zoo and gave zoo patrons a chance to experienceÂ an adventure through theÂ fascinating world of parasitesÂ with activities suitable forÂ everyone to enjoy, and anÂ opportunity to get â€œunder the skinâ€ ofÂ Australiaâ€™s parasitologists.
“Parasites and Pets,Â Parasites and You â€“Â What do you really thinkÂ you know?” our free public event for the wholeÂ family Sunday, 25th August,Â 5-6 pm, Perth Convention Â Exhibition Centre, RiversideÂ Theatre.Â Can parasites really burrowÂ through your skin or be a cureÂ for gut diseases? Professors Andrew Thompson, Malcolm Jones and Susan Little entertained the audienceÂ with some livelyÂ talk about parasites and a quiz while the children joined our â€œYoungÂ parasites science clubâ€ free,Â fun, supervised science activitiesÂ for young scientists during theÂ presentation.Â You can watch the quizÂ in twoÂ parts by clicking on each video link below.
“Profs, Pints and Parasites.Â Friends Without Benefits.”Â Tuesday 27th August, atÂ Aviary Rooftop Bar cnr WilliamÂ St & Murray St Mall from 6-8pm.Â From evolution and environmentÂ to why you need to â€œwatch yourÂ orificesâ€ with new threats on theÂ block â€“ parasites play a far moreÂ important (and horrifying) roleÂ in the world than you have everÂ imaginedâ€¦Follow the twitterÂ feed #profsandpintsÂ Cost: Free entry.
ASP-Inspiring Australia Hangout On Air: Parasitologists in the Spotlight.Â View the first Â of our ASP – Inspiring Australia “Parasitologists in the Spotlight” Hangout On Air Series from December 2013.
Our first FREE event “Parasite Encounters in the Wild” took place Monday 2nd July 2012, Country Club Tasmania, Prospect Vale, from 545pm. As well as fascinating talks and an appearance by a Tasmanian Devil from Trowunna Wildlife Park there were be fun, supervised, science activities for children available during the presentation. Download a flyer.
This project is one of 63 Unlocking Australiaâ€™s Potential science communication grants announced 12 June 2012 by the Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.
â€œParasites are barometers for the health of any ecosystem and public knowledge about them, and the scientists who research and combat parasitic disease, can only be beneficial,â€ said Professor Nick Smith (James Cook University) who is convenor of the ASP Network for Parasitology.
â€œParasites are a part of everyoneâ€™s life; they infect our pets, the meat and crops we eat, and us. They also infect our iconic marsupial wildlife and the fish in our unique oceans and reefs, sometimes with devastating consequences,â€ Prof Smith said.
â€œParasites are a fascinating and very popular science topic. There is a gross-out factor that both repels and intrigues people to want to know more,â€ Lisa Jones, communications coordinator for the ASP Network for Parasitology said. â€œWe have public events planned across Australia suitable for children, teens and adults. We want to enable audiences to get â€œunder the skinâ€ of Australiaâ€™s parasitologists, and the best way we have found to do this is by engaging scientists, communicators and the general public in discussions about, and activities that describe, the lifecycle of parasites and how parasites fit in with their individual lives.â€ she said.
This Inspiring Australia initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education in partnership with the Australian Society for Parasitology Inc.
About the Unlocking Australiaâ€™s Potential grants
A total of $5 million has been awarded across the country.
The prime objective of the grants program is to increase the engagement of Australians in science and it has prioritised projects that engage people who may not have had previous access to or interest in science-communication activities. Inspiring Australia is an initiative of the Australian Government.
For more information about the national progam and a complete list of grant recipients go online to www.scienceinpublic.com.au/inspiringaus.