Tim Faulkner talked about Manning River turtles and Aussie Ark at the August Manning Net meeting

A crowed of 99 women found Tim Faulkner's talk at the Manning Net inspiring. Photos Julia Driscoll
A crowed of 99 women found Tim Faulkner's talk at the Manning Net inspiring. Photos Julia Driscoll

Tim Faulkner, general manager of the Australian Reptile Park and president of Aussie Ark, kept 99 women enthralled in his role as guest speaker at the Manning Net monthly meeting at Club Taree on Thursday, August 29.

Tim gave an hour-long, off the cuff speech focussing on the work of Aussie Ark at the Barrington Tops, and the Manning River turtle.

"I've never known someone who can stand up and talk that fast without any props!" said Donna Ballard, organiser of the evening.

"You know that he's delivering something he totally believes in when it's coming straight from his mind like that.

"He's such a knowledgeable guy! He's intriguing. It was a real coup to have him speak."

Watch Tim Faulkner talk about the Manning River turtle:

Tim Faulkner talks about the Manning River turtle

A large part of the talk centered on Australia's extinction crisis and how it affects the Manning River turtle, what is being done to try and mitigate the threat of extinction for the turtle, and how introduced pests are responsible for much of the extinction of Australian species.

"The fox and cat are responsible for 92 per cent of Australian extinctions," Tim said, adding that there are none of the small animal species that used to live in the Barrington Tops living there anymore.

"Aussie Ark's real goal is to return parts of the Barrington to what it was like 500 years ago. There's a real difference between species recovery and habitat recovery," he said.

"My American friends say Australia is waking up to its crisis. We've had our heads in the sand for a long time."

My American friends say Australia is waking up to its crisis. We've had our heads in the sand for a long time.

Tim Faulkner

Donna Ballard said she found the information presented in the talk reverberating long afterward.

"I found myself thinking about it later. There were so many lines of wisdom in what Tim presented to us. And he can just rattle off all those statistics and infomration so readily and easily. He's like a walking textbook but he delivers it in a really excited way that makes you feel motivated to help.

Tim being presented with a gift and donation from Manning Net.

Tim being presented with a gift and donation from Manning Net.

"Some of that stuff about how Australia compares to the rest of the world (extinction rates) is really alarming. We need more people like him that's really getting the word out there. And I love how he says he's working with the school kids because that's where he feels he can really make change for the future.

"I think it was thought provoking. That's how it stayed with me. I keep on thinking about it now, like when you see a good movie and it stays with you and you keep thinking about it for days afterwards.

"It certainly does make you want to make a difference, that's for sure," Donna said.

At the conclusion of Tim's speech he was presented with a donation from Manning Net as a thank you gift. In return he said they could have naming rights to one of the turtles that would be collected in November for the insurance population. They very quickly decided on the name "Nettie".