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  This precious placeDaryl Dickson
 
  Moonlight glider (Artwork: Daryl Dickson)  
 
  Moonlight glider (Artwork: Daryl Dickson)  
 
  Striped possum (Artwork: Daryl Dickson)  
 
  Striped possum (Artwork: Daryl Dickson)  

A timeless place of solace and renewal
Sit in silence within these ancient forests; be still
Be still, and let its life force seep into your soul
Breathe deep the essence of life, the air, the soil, the vibrant health

This is the real world – a world where we are just one part of something so much greater than ourselves.

I am still surprised by just how much this place touches my soul. Living in the Wet Tropics has changed my way of seeing, living and being. These days I have trouble sleeping without the reassuring chortles of the scrubfowl and the fragrant tropical air. This place has touched my life profoundly.

I never guessed that my life would lead me to a place where I would learn to recognise the footfalls of wild creatures in their forests; where I would stand in silence at dawn savouring the poignant call of the pitta welcoming his day or recognise the rare and precious creatures of the night. I am so very privileged by their acceptance of my presence in their home.
My husband, Geoff Moffatt, and I arrived in the north 15 years ago, leaving our hectic lives in the city. We had recognised the visual beauty of the Wet Tropics after a brief visit in 1988. As an artist, I was stunned by the liquid light, the moist air and the vibrant colour. We had only caught a glimpse of what this place would gift to our lives and lingered just long enough in the forest for the magic to touch our hearts. It was the beginning of a very special journey which we continue to relish.

The lowland coastal forests of the Wet Tropics are now our home. It seems we have learnt more in the past 15 years than we had in the rest of our lives. We now realise that today’s world is so focused on growth that the future of this paradise is not necessarily assured and that we are all, ultimately, responsible for its future. This place is too precious for us to assume that someone else will protect it or be its guardian. It needs us all to continue to speak in its defence and protection.

Our particular love of the wild creatures of the Wet Tropics has focused our lives and efforts on one of Australia’s least known and most endangered species, the mahogany glider. When they need help, we have the privilege of caring for these wonderful, gentle gliders. It amazes me that mahogany gliders are so little known and have no prominent public profile to assist in their protection.

 
  Mahogany glider (Photo: Daryl Dickson)  
 
  Mahogany glider (Photo: Daryl Dickson)  
There are fewer mahogany gliders in the world than there are giant pandas or Bengal tigers and I fear they may slip into extinction with few being aware of their fate. These gentle creatures are one of the six species of Australian glider. They are not a rainforest species – they inhabit open eucalypt and melaleuca forests along the coast between Tully and Ollera Creek, south of Ingham (an area about 120 kilometres long and 12 kilometres wide). If we don’t manage to restore and retain the landscape on which they rely we will lose this gentle glider from our moonlit tropical forests forever – a tragic loss indeed.

My greatest hope is that our youngsters, the generations to come, will be the future defenders, custodians and protectors of the Wet Tropics and all its wonderful creatures. I believe very strongly that early contact is the key – not just reading, talking and looking at books but smelling, touching, hearing and seeing – the whole sensory experience. Take the children into the forests, guide them, teach them to see, to hear and smell, let them explore and delight in their real world. Give us all hope for the future.

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Daryl Dickson

Daryl was born in London and has lived in Australia since 1961. She was educated and raised in South Australia and has lived in north Queensland since 1993. She now works full-time producing original artworks and a range of wildlife cards and prints. Most recently Daryl completed the illustrations for a children’s book about the endangered mahogany glider. Daryl and her husband, Geoff Moffatt, live in the Kennedy Valley and devote much of their time to caring for injured and orphaned native animals. In 2001 Daryl received an Australia Day Award for her work in environmental education, wildlife rescue and her pioneering work in rearing endangered mahogany gliders. She was honoured with a Cassowary Award in 2008.

Daryl Dickson

Daryl was born in London and has lived in Australia since 1961. She was educated and raised in South Australia and has lived in north Queensland since 1993. She now works full-time producing original artworks and a range of wildlife cards and prints. Most recently Daryl completed the illustrations for a children’s book about the endangered mahogany glider. Daryl and her husband, Geoff Moffatt, live in the Kennedy Valley and devote much of their time to caring for injured and orphaned native animals. In 2001 Daryl received an Australia Day Award for her work in environmental education, wildlife rescue and her pioneering work in rearing endangered mahogany gliders. She was honoured with a Cassowary Award in 2008.

 
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