GLOUCESTER'S platypus are better prepared than most for this week's unseasonal heavy snow falls on Barrington Tops that promise to provide a dramatic backdrop to Saturday's (September 6) Gloucester Platypus Festival.
With fur that contains up to 700 hairs per square millimetre, platypus are extremely well insulated against the icy river conditions expected across the region after more than 20cm of snow fell on Tuesday night. More snow is expected later in the week.
Manning Great Lakes Platypus and Awareness and Conservancy Team secretary Kirsty Hughes said platypus had inhabited the Australian continent for five million years and are extremely well adapted to a variety of conditions.
"They are just as active in winter as they are in summer, and will be definitely enjoying the extra water in the rivers as it tops up their foraging areas and gives them bigger areas to swim in," she said.
Ms Hughes said recent welcome rain was "all good news" for the platypus spotting event organised for this Friday evening.
Gloucester Shire Council sustainability officer Tania Parkinson said this year's festival theme was Rivercare, highlighting the importance of Gloucester's beautiful, life-giving creeks and rivers that support so many platypus and humans.
"We're really lucky to have so many platypus living locally because when they are around we know that our rivers are healthy and we can use them for drinking, farming, swimming, fishing and things like kayaking," Ms Parkinson said.
"To protect this precious water and these wonderful creatures we need to look after our rivers and that means taking responsibility for protecting our environment, and living with a low footprint. The festival brings together a whole range of sustainable living ideas and practices in one place for the whole community to experience and enjoy."
With a focus on sustainable living, the festival program is packed with hands on activities and demonstrations plus artisan stalls, delicious local food and wine, and some terrific home-grown entertainment.
There's an amazing array of fun things to see and do for all the family. You can have a massage, watch the blacksmith at work, learn how to prepare fresh seasonal salads, churn butter, make your own milkshake, weave a basket, stitch a rag rug or go on a treasure hunt.
The talented and creative folk from Frugal Forest will have amazing waste-to-art craft activities plus Gloucester High School students will be creating a stir with their hands-on science activities.
'The Burrow' - a specially constructed bamboo talks tent designed and built by Lucid Space - will feature expert speakers on a range of subjects from backyard chooks and platypus to freshwater mussels and Rivercare.
Wizzy the Waterdrop and Platypus Pete will make special guest appearances and there'll be regular performances of the Platypus Puppet Theatre.
The festival is an initiative of Gloucester Shire Council, MidCoast Water and MidWaste with generous support from a range of local and regional sponsors including
More information at www.platypusfetival.com.au or www.facebook.com/platypusfestival