Childers vet Duncan Smith with daughter Harriet and son Monty, along with Darth Vader the rat, Fatso the corella and Wally the swamp wallaby.
Childers vet Duncan Smith with daughter Harriet and son Monty, along with Darth Vader the rat, Fatso the corella and Wally the swamp wallaby. Simon Young BUNCHI

Animal-loving family at top of iTunes charts

AN APPLE Tree Creek family's love of animals has led them to produce a popular online digital radio podcast, Animal Geeks, rated in the top 10 family section on iTunes.

Animal Geeks is the project of Isis Veterinary Services' Dr Duncan Smith, his wife Kate and their animal-mad children Xanthe, 12, Harriet, 9 and Monty, 6.

The weekly podcast looks at topics from the Smith's sailing adventures and children and parents write to their website with questions from giraffes to giant mythical spiders.

From rat castrations to the vet's jellyfish phobia, no animal topic is taboo.

The family said the podcast focused on fun facts and answering questions from an inquisitive nine-year-old's perspective.

It was an idea born from the challenges of living aboard a yacht as they sailed from New Zealand.

"Podcasting didn't take a lot of power to download," Mrs Smith said.

"We would just sit down and listen to podcasts and then we decided we'd start our own.

"Children have a natural enthusiasm for adventure and learning about the animals in the environment around them."

Having produced just 10 podcasts in 12 weeks, all from the Smith's walk-in wardrobe "studio", the popularity of the program took them by surprise.

They attribute their success to a good mix of science, animal facts and comedy that appeals to both parents and children.

"We hope that other adventurous families enjoy Animal Geeks and listen to it in the car or on the family camping trips this summer," Mrs Smith said.

The Smith family is planning their next voyage to the Great Barrier Reef.

"We will be podcasting and videocasting our way north," Mrs Smith said.

"We want to meet people who are working in conservation and children working alongside them, trying to inspire kids in the science field."

The next segment will be with Mon Repos head ranger Cathy Gatley, to do a beach podcast with a nine-year-old junior ranger and, of course, the turtles.

"This will be a wonderful chance to promote all the fantastic work everyone does in the Wide Bay area in turtle conservation," Mrs Smith said.



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