28 March 2023

From fungi walks and spotlighting to art, festival shows many ways to celebrate nature

| Albert McKnight
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man with painting and vase

Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden manager Michael Anlezark shows off some pieces for the 2023 From the Forest exhibition. Photo: ESC.

It’s time for the lovers of everything green to return to the Eurobodalla to celebrate nature and all it offers at its two-week festival, From the Forest.

Set in the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden, the festival features exhibitions, kids’ crafts, music, moonlight movies and expert-guided walks.

The garden’s manager, Michael Anlezark, said From the Forest would include many events for both children and adults.

Kids can look forward to building an Earth Day mandala, taking a discovery walk and crafting things like bird nests, mushrooms or toadstools.

“We’re also launching our first moonlight movie. Watching our huge five-metre screen under the evening moon – it’s not your everyday film experience,” Mr Anlezark said.

The movie, the family-friendly Australian production Paper Planes, will be shown on the evening of Friday, 14 April.

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For the older folk, highlights include a forest ecologist who will lead a spotlight after-dark tour, giving a brief presentation of what you can expect to see and hear before setting out into the night.

“We had a trial run just last month and saw a couple of sugar gliders at a bit of biffo; one got knocked right out of the tree,” Mr Anlezark said.

Another highlight is the Breakfast with the Birds, in which local ornithologists will guide participants on a hunt for some of the 130 bird species recorded in the botanic garden, followed by a breakfast of fruit, muffins and warm croissants.

Other guided walks include a literary walk highlighting trees that feature in popular fiction, a behind-the-scenes tour with nursery supervisor and orchid expert Dylan Morrissey, as well as walks to discover the magical world of fungi and slime moulds.

Also, the From the Forest art exhibition will run for two weeks in the Visitors Centre Banksia Room at the gardens, showing the creations of 20 artists using materials that include wood, textiles, paper and ceramics.

“The art exhibition showcases our local talents. It’s very diverse but, obviously, there is a strong nature focus among the 120 works,” Mr Anlezark said.

“This year, the art will spill outdoors with sculptures on the lawn as well.”

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There will also be music, with a performance by the Deep River Choir in the gardens on 10 April.

Many events are free, although some require a small charge to cover costs. Some have limited places, so if you’d like a spot, it’s best to book early.

“Otherwise, you might like to stroll along one of the trails or rest easy on a seat within the garden’s glorious grounds for a little forest bathing – scientifically proven to lower stress and boost wellbeing. And you can do that anytime,” Mr Anlezark said.

For more information or to register for an event, click here. The festival runs from 8-23 April, and the botanic garden is on Deep Creek Dam Road, Batemans Bay.

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