Kymberly Martin

What a hoot! The beauty of nature.

In these coronavirus-triggered social isolating times F2L thought this was a rather engaging story about just how beautiful nature can be for us all, irrespective of age or ability.

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Six year old Grace Fulton is possibly Australia’s youngest scientist, participating in field research to help protect precious owl species, with her father, University of Queensland scientist Graham Fulton. Together capturing critical data about owl species, including powerful, southern boobook, sooty and masked owls.

Fulton said he is delighted his daughter is so passionate about protecting these birds, and she loves being immersed in nature.

“Grace absolutely adores owls,” he said. “She was only four when she started spending nights with me in the rainforest searching for them, and now she knows all of their calls. Since then she’s been travelling across the country collecting data about what and where these birds are and what’s happening to their populations as habitats decline.

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“She’s even a lead author in a research article in a published peer-reviewed scientific journal.”

Grace’s most recent research was conducted at two sites, one close to her home in suburban Brisbane, and the other in the rainforests of Mount Glorious, outside the city. “Grace and I were keen to compare how forest owls and other nocturnal birds do in dense urban areas compared to leafy, wild places like Mount Glorious,” Fulton said.

“It came as no surprise that there was a distinct lack of owls in the Brisbane suburb, the habitat is just so poor for owls when compared to the Mount Glorious lush rainforest.

Despite her scientific focus on owls, Grace is inquisitive about all sorts of species. Right now she’s fascinated by the migration of butterflies across Brisbane.

“Ever since she was two-years-old she’s never stopped asking why, and I’m thrilled to help foster her curiosity about the natural world,” Fulton said.

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