Young wildlife warrior puts heart and soul into conservation

WILDLIFE: Conservationist Brandon Gifford is excited to have been able to set up a ‘Wildlife Workshop’ with money he won from the Eureka Science Prize.
WILDLIFE: Conservationist Brandon Gifford is excited to have been able to set up a ‘Wildlife Workshop’ with money he won from the Eureka Science Prize. Marc Stapelberg

WILDLIFE workshops, documentaries, research and exhibitions, former Casino High school student Brandon Gifford has big ambitions.

The 18-year-old environmentalist has recently launched "The Wildlife Workshop" exhibition in the library of his former school in a bid to get more students interested and involved with wildlife conservation.

Shark jaws, puffer fish skeletons, pickled snakes, emu eggs and turtle shells are just some of the features on display.

The exhibition also includes information plaques, a range of books and a screen that plays continuous wildlife documentaries.

Brandon said his vision was to create a space where students could get educated about wildlife.

"I'm very passionate about conservation so we're trying to help inspire the younger people here to get passionate and create a spot where we can bring snakes in and let them hold and pat them," he said.

Prize money from Brandon's wins in the Australian Museum's Eureka science awards funded the exhibition.

The young wildlife warrior has managed to take out the prestigious national science award three years in a row.

Last year's entry, Spectacular Spider, used vision of spiders spinning webs, catching prey and camouflaging themselves to help encourage viewers to respect rather than fear the eight-legged insects.

Brandon graduated from Casino High School last year and has just finished his first semester of study at the University of Queensland in a bachelor of applied science with a major in wildlife.

He said he was still undecided about whether he wanted to start up his own zoo, go into crocodile rescue and research, continue his wildlife documentary work or build an educational touring wildlife exhibition after university.

The ex-Casino High School student is a member of the university's student wildlife association and has spent a lot of time volunteering at Australia Zoo. He said his main wildlife message was to encourage people to say no to wildlife products.

Topics:  geek wildlife

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