A Quite Interesting* encounter with Stephen Fry

Last week Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Australia was lucky enough to host both FFI vice-president Stephen Fry, and the ABC’s Tony Jones for the launch of the Australian Conservation Circle. The lunch event was held at Comme, in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Decorated with Australian native flowers – locally sourced of course – it was indeed, the perfect place and opportunity to showcase FFI’s work in Australia and internationally.

Jack Whelan, FFI Australia’s Executive Director, opened the event by welcoming guests and introducing FFI to those who had not come across the organisation before. Kevin Skelton, FFI Australia’s Chairman, followed with a few words on his passion for the ocean and motivations for joining the organisation. Kevin is a keen surfer both in Australia and overseas, and was drawn to FFI because he had observed the continual degradation of the environment, particularly in Indonesia, where FFI has a range of projects underway to conserve and protect ecosystems.

Tony Jones and Stephen Fry then took to the stage settling comfortably into armchairs for a ‘fireside’ chat. All manner of subjects were covered including, but certainly not limited (!), to conservation! Tony shared with guests, his experience of coming face to face with a blood-mouthed leopard seal while exploring the Antarctic. Hearing Stephen then talk about his experiences with grey whales off the southern Californian coast gave me goose bumps and brought tears to many guests’ eyes.

Throughout the conversation, one thing was clear – Stephen has a profound passion for nature. His contribution to this event and indeed FFI more broadly, is greatly appreciated.

While it was not solely a fundraising exercise, FFI Australia hopes that guests will join the Australian Conservation Circle as a way of supporting the organisation’s activities in the region. Interest in the days following has been encouragingly high and we have already signed up our first member – Tony Jones himself! The next event will be held in Sydney early next year, keynote speaker(s) to be announced soon.

* Stephen was in Australia performing live stage versions of his hugely successful television show, QI.