Sunday 22 August 2010

Go back to Uni today and discover some nuts

The annual James Cook University open day is on at the Smithfield campus from 10am today.

The university throws open its doors to the public annually, where you'll see demonstrations and displays that showcase courses on offer and facilities. The teaching staff will also be around to ask curly questions like the meaning of life.

There'll be no beer-swilling under-achievers, topless girls smacked out on half an E, greenies chained to trees, or even anti-war protesters in sight. Universities have gone all polite and respectable nowadays. Such a shame.

Earlier this year, botanical enthusiast John Elliott was walking in bushland near JCU’s Townsville campus, exploring a creek in dry eucalypt woodland, when he came across a group of around 80 trees that looked familiar, but which had fruit he had never seen before.

JCU botanist Betsy Jackes was also stumped, as were staff of the Australian Tropical Herbarium here in, and the Queensland Herbarium in Brisbane. Nobody was sure which family it belonged to. It seemed to be probably in the eucalypt or lilly-pilly family, but the fruits were weird and there were no flowers available. A new species certainly, but how to classify it?

Renown Kuranda-based entomologist Dr David Rentz, will be showing off some of these new discoveries outside the Herbarium, in building E2, where you can see his nuts. Or if he's nuts.

If you haven't visited this wonderful campus, take a drive and explore today. JCU's library is also magnificent and is always open to the public. Today's open day is not all serious though. There will be plenty of entertainment for all ages. Check out the program of events.

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