Council shines spotlight on environmental issues

Date published: 18 March 2016

Townsville’s environment will come under the spotlight this weekend with a big double header of popular annual events – Earth Hour and Toad Day Out.

Residents are being encouraged to turn lights out at 8.30pm on Saturday night for Earth Hour and participate in a Spotlight Safari at the council’s Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre.

On Sunday the focus will switch to the annual round-up of the ubiquitous cane toad for the annual Toad Day Out between 8.30am – 12 pm at Riverway.

Coordinator Strategic Sustainability Programs Chris Manning said the double header of environmental events was growing each year.

“Both events have become main stays on our annual calendar in Townsville and one of the most encouraging aspects is the involvement of young people who clearly have an interest and concern about the environment,” Mr Manning said.

“It’s a great opportunity to combine both events – turn off your lights for Earth Hour, and get out the torch go hunting cane toads for Toad Day Out.

“Our special touch for Earth Hour is the Spotlight Safari at the Rowes Bay Centre where kids can build their own wildlife sensor and go exploring at 8.30pm when the lights are turned out.”

Townsville will join more than 7000 cities worldwide in turning out lights for Earth Hour which began in Sydney in 2007 as a way of raising environmental awareness.

Organisers are expecting toads of all shapes and sizes for Sunday’s Toad Day Out.

The popular annual community event is a fun way to make a dent in local toad numbers while educating residents about the pest.

“While we know cane toads are a backyard pest, they are also a serious threat to our native species,” Mr Manning said.

“A lack of wet seasons over the past few years have seen numbers in some suburbs decrease, however cane toads still have a considerable negative impact on our environment.

“Toad Day Out is a great way to get the messages out, especially to residents who are new to the region.”

Earth Hour – Saturday (March 19)

* 5.30pm spotlight safari from 8.30-9.30pm at the Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre at 56 Cape Pallarenda Road, Rowes Bay. Entry is free.
* Other activities will include a twilight beach walk, WWF’s Earth Hour movie, a chance to meet and interact with animals and to speak with local environmental groups.
* Wildlife carers will also be releasing baby curlews back into the local environment.
* For more information visit

Toad Day Out – Sunday (March 20)

Riverway 8.30am – 12pm

* Enjoy free entertainment including face painting and fairy floss, plus educational talks on various invasive species, toad racing at 9.30am and 11am, as well as Fight 4 Flight NQ Birds of Prey including a predator bird display.
* There will also be a sausage sizzle, coffee cart and ice cream van on site for food purchases.

Prize categories:

* Largest total weight of toads – Individual under 8 years
* Largest total weight of toads – Individual over 8 years
* Largest total weight of toads – Collected by a Family
* Largest total weight of toads - Community or School Group
* Single largest toad - open to all ages from above nominations

Participants are asked to collect the toads the night before and to store them humanely overnight before bringing them to Riverway on the day.

Register online at council’s website