Page 2673 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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I would also urge parents to encourage their children to engage, explore and question and learn about all that the world of science has to offer. You never know, they may be the next palaeontologist to discover a new species of dinosaur.

I offer my congratulations to all of those who have been instrumental in putting together these displays and also to the directors of the National Dinosaur Museum for their commitment to Canberra, to palaeontology and to children of all ages and, in particular, manager Richard Mancuso and his enthusiastic staff at the museum, many of whom are university students.

But in particular, I would like to recognise the vision and energy of Dr Eva Papp, academic visitor based at the research school of earth sciences and senior scientific adviser to the museum. It was Dr Papp’s idea and initiative, superbly backed up by the directors of the Dinosaur Museum, that enabled them to win the federal national science week grant to stage the Dinosaurs Down Under exhibition, that I had the pleasure of officially launching on Saturday.

Dr Papp is active in several geoscientific organisations and this exhibition is Dr Papp’s contribution to Canberra and Australia, highlighting the need for enhancing the future of scientific education in Australia. I would like to finish with a direct quote from Dr Eva Papp in a letter she wrote to me about her vision and passion regarding earth sciences and its importance. She said:

I think it is very important that Earth Sciences are part of the Science Curriculum now, but we need to strengthen the training of teachers in this discipline to achieve a good outcome of this initiative. We also need to provide much more support to institutions where paleontology as a discipline is taught and researched: such as universities, and museums.

Fossils are the only witnesses of the past evolution of life on earth and they are our irreplaceable treasures. Just as the Mona Lisa can never be painted again, those unique plants and animals we find fossilised can never evolve again in the future. Fossils are not curiosities, they are our history books and teachers!

I should add that a visiting paleontologist from Hungary, Dr Marton Rabi, scientist Dr Eva Papp, and science educator Mr Phil Hall from Canberra will be travelling on this roadshow that we talked about. They will be travelling about 2,000 kilometres in two weeks with their truck, carrying life-sized dinosaur replicas and hundreds of smaller fossil items of the exciting new exhibition. And they will be travelling through many parts of Australia. In fact, they are travelling now through Cootamundra, West Wyalong, Griffith, Hay, Deniliquin, Echuca, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Lakes Entrance and Eden. And Canberra will be on the map again with an opening and closing event at the National Dinosaur Museum at the end of the month. I commend Dr Eva Papp for all her energy.

Friends of Mount Majura

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.42): On Sunday, 28 July I attended the national tree planting day at Mount Majura with the Friends of Mount Majura. The friends

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