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Wing Threads:
Flight Around Oz

A flying quest to share the amazing journeys of migratory shorebirds with Australian primary schools. Using science, art and adventure to foster nature stewardship.

Inspire the next generation with a real-life flying adventure

Engage students to get curious about nature

Easy to access teaching resources that meet Australian Curriculum objectives

Be part of the adventure
with a free shorebird STEM incursion at your school!

Wing Threads creator and illustrator of A Shorebird Flying Adventure, Milly Formby, is landing at a town near you as she flies around Australia for Wing Threads: Flight Around Oz.

This endeavour will bring free STEM incursions directly to Australian classrooms and connect urban, regional and remote primary school kids with their local wetlands.

Invite Milly to your school and be taken on an illustrated journey into the amazing lives of migratory shorebirds - and learn how to draw them too!

Aimed at Grades 3-6. Click the button to find out more.

Book cover for A Shorebird Flying Adventure
Amellia Formby standing in front of her white microlight aircraft

Hello. I'm Amellia Formby, illustrator & co-author of A Shorebird Flying Adventure.
I'm also a zoologist, pilot & adventurer!

I love birds – especially migratory shorebirds, which are among the most endangered birds in the world. Shorebirds and their wetland habitats are valuable and need our protection. 

BirdLife Australia identifies a lack of awareness as the number one threat to shorebirds. But how to get everyone’s attention?

While searching for answers, I came up with a plan – to follow our shorebirds on migration from Australia to Siberia. What if I could inspire people by doing what shorebirds do best – flying! So I learned to fly a microlight.

My first big step to realising this dream is to fly around Australia. Teachers and students, I invite you to join me on a shorebird flying adventure!

Hi. I'm Milly Formby, illustrator of the children's book, A Shorebird Flying Adventure. I'm also a zoologist, pilot & adventurer!

I love birds – especially migratory shorebirds, which are among the most endangered birds in the world. Shorebirds and their wetland habitats are valuable and need our protection. 

BirdLife Australia identifies a lack of awareness as the number one threat to shorebirds. But how to get everyone’s attention?

While searching for answers, I came up with a plan – to follow our shorebirds on migration from Australia to Siberia. What if I could inspire people by doing what shorebirds do best – flying! So I learned to fly a microlight.

My first big step to realising this dream is to fly around Australia. Teachers and students, I invite you to join me on a shorebird flying adventure!

The message of the shorebirds...

Every year, shorebirds fly a 25,000 kilometre round trip from Australia to the Arctic and back again to breed. 

Shorebird migration connects us to over 4 billion people in 23 countries through a network of wetlands in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

The wetlands are like a chain with links in it. By taking care of our wetlands here at home, we help to keep the Flyway chain strong and have an impact on an international scale.

The message of the shorebirds...

Every year, shorebirds fly a 25,000 kilometre round trip from Australia to the Arctic and back again to breed. 

Shorebird migration connects us to over 4 billion people in 23 countries through a network of wetlands in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

The wetlands are like a chain with links in it. By taking care of our wetlands here at home, we help to keep the Flyway chain strong and have an impact on an international scale.

Upcoming flight leg details

flight leg 23: Moruya to Wollongong, NSW

Date: Thursday 24th November @ 5.45AM AEDST

A cartoon map of Australia

Where is microlight Milly now?

Watch in-flight livestream video replays

Progress so far...

0
Flight Legs
0
Kilometres Flown
0
Schools Visited
0
Students Reached

Here's what schools are saying:

Here's How It Works:

Shopping cart

1. Buy the book $24.99

Purchase A Shorebird Flying Adventure from CSIRO Publishing

2. Invite Milly to visit your school

Meet Milly in person, go behind the scenes of the Wing Threads: Flight Around Oz journey, listen to a reading of A Shorebird Flying Adventure and learn how to draw shorebirds!

Adventure map

3. Be part of the adventure!

Watch Milly flying around Australia LIVE on YouTube for Wing Threads: Flight Around Oz
AND
follow on social media

FAQs

I have planned 60 flight legs. See diagram below for a list of stopovers.

Please note: This is a list of the airfields I’ll be landing at and not an indication of where I can do school visits. I will have a ground crew with me and will be able to drive to nearby school locations. 

The timing of each flight leg is weather dependent. Therefore I can’t give exact dates of when I will be somewhere until about a week prior to arrival.

I originally thought the trip would take about six months. However, this estimate has already blown out due to delays from weather and school holidays.

I’m now planning to do up to NSW this year and continue into Queensland after Christmas school holidays next year to avoid being up north during the wet season.

See the list of stopovers below for a current estimate of timeframes.

Yes. I have different people volunteering to drive my car with the microlight trailer for me as I fly around Australia.

If you’re interested in volunteering for ground crew, email me at wingthreads@gmail.com
Fill in the online application form and I will let you know via email or phone if I’m available to do a STEM incursion at your school.

Please note: You can still apply even if your school isn’t on the list of stopovers. I have a ground crew driving my car and can drive to your location.

Click the Apply for a Free STEM Incursion button below to access the form.

No, I will just be flying around the coast of mainland Australia.

When the shorebirds migrate, they fly from Australia to Siberia in the northern hemisphere. I will be flying around the coast of Australia. The distance around Australia is similar to what the shorebirds fly from Australia to the Arctic and back (~20,000kms).

It is my dream to one day follow the shorebirds on migration all the way from Australia to the Arctic!

No. This won’t be like the movie, Fly Away Home, where a group of geese were trained to follow a microlight aircraft so they could learn how to migrate. Migratory shorebirds are wild and will avoid being near the aircraft.
As the name suggests, microlights are small, light and fly at a similar speed to what the shorebirds do on migration. I will also be exposed to the elements like the birds are.

Click on each state to see a List of stopovers

Western Australia - START
2022WHITE GUM FARM (Perth)3rd June
BUNBURY24th June
KOJONUP25th June
NARRIKUP (Albany)13th July
BREMER BAY19th July
ESPERANCE12th August
CAIGUNA13th August
EUCLA20th August
South Australia
2022COORABIE FARM 21st August STREAKY BAY 26th August PORT LINCOLN 31st August PORT PIRIE 5th September GAWLER (Adelaide) 12th September STRATHALBYN 22nd September ROBE 2nd October MOUNT GAMBIER 3rd October
Victoria

ESTIMATED DATES OCT -NOV 2022

WARNAMBOOL
10th October
BARWON HEADS (Melbourne)
16th October
TYABB (Melbourne)
19th October
LATROBE VALLEY
5th November
BAIRNSDALE
6th November

New South Wales

ESTIMATED DATES NOV - DEC 2022

MERIMBULA
19th November
MORUYA
24th November
WOLLONGONG (Sydney)
25th November
LAKE MACQUARIE (Newcastle)
TAREE
COFFS HARBOUR
BALLINA

Queensland
ESTIMATED DATES FEB - APR 2023

CABOOLTURE (Brisbane)
BUNDABERG
GLADSTONE
ROCKHAMPTON
MACKAY
BOWEN
TOWNSVILLE
INGHAM
KARUMBA
BURKETOWN
Northern Territory
ESTIMATED DATES MAY 2023

BOOROOLOOLA
TANUMBARINI STATION
DALY WATERS
KATHERINE/TINDAL
EMKAYTEE (Darwin)
PORT KEATS
Western Australia - FINISH

ESTIMATED DATES JUN - AUG 2023

KUNUNURRA
BUNGLE BUNGLES
HALLS CREEK
FITZROY CROSSING
DERBY
BROOME
ANNA PLAINS STATION
PORT HEDLAND
KARRATHA
ONSLOW
EXMOUTH
CARNARVON
KALBARRI
GERALDTON
JURIEN BAY
WHITE GUM FARM (Perth)

Qualifications

Migratory Shorebird Project Officer
BirdLife Australia

RAAus Recreational Pilot Certificate
GA Recreational Pilot License
Passenger & cross-country endorsements
Controlled airspace & aerodrome endorsements

Master of Science   |   Zoology
Bachelor of Science   
|   Zoology
The University of Melbourne

Bachelor of Visual Arts
Monash University

Awards

PanAir RPL/PPL Flight Training Scholarship 2019
Women in Aviation International

Amelia Earhart Fly Now Scholarship 2016
The Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots

 

Sponsors

PHCC logo
BirdLife logo
RAAus logo
avplan logo

Project Partners

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