A book inspired by an author’s life-changing trip to Antarctica has won the Wilderness Society’s 2004 Environment Award for Children’s Literature.

Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Antarctic, congratulated Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow and Tasmanian children’s writer and illustrator Coral Tulloch on receiving the award for her book 'Antarctica — Heart of the World'.

“I had much pleasure in launching Coral Tulloch’s book early last year and am delighted to see it receive recognition through this award. It is a tribute to her talent as a writer, illustrator and communicator,” Dr Stone said.

“It is a wonderful book for children aged nine years and beyond and takes the reader on a fascinating and informative journey to the last great wilderness on Earth.

“The magical thing about this book is that while its primary target is young people, Coral’s style is such that it also lures adults to get involved and understand the uniqueness of this continent and why it is at the heart of the world. It also helps raise awareness of the valuable work of the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship program."

In 1999, Ms Tulloch was awarded an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship and travelled to Australia’s Antarctic stations on board the research and resupply ship Aurora Australis. The Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship program was established in 1984 by the Australian Antarctic Division.

“Because Antarctica is out of the reach of most people, it can be difficult to fully understand Australia’s important research role and the magnitude of our responsibility and our priority to ensure minimal human impact,” Dr Stone said.

“That’s why we place great store in the value of our Antarctic Fellows. They play a significant and complementary role to Australia’s Antarctic science program, in that they can spread the word of what we do to corners of the community that might otherwise not get that information.”

Those eligible to apply include artists, researchers, film makers and writers, journalists and others from the media, creative arts, humanities and social sciences. Fellows for the 2004/05 Antarctic season will be announced within the next couple of months.