By Morgan de Smidt
THE ‘bird-en’ of juggling exams, work, and the promotion of her first book was a small price to pay for Gidgegannup teenager Talitha Huston who is up for a major award.
The recent high school graduate was nominated for the Qoin Small Business Achiever Award category in the 2022 WA Young Achiever Awards for her book Birds of the Perth Hills and her contribution to local wildlife.
“I feel pretty lucky to be nominated,” Talitha said.
“There’s a lot of people out there doing great things and I am really glad to be one of the nominees.”
She began working on her book at 14, compiling and researching hundreds of thousands of bird photos she’d taken and hand painting distribution maps before launching her book in March last year.
Since then, while studying for her year 12 exams, she has spoken at 16 school and community presentations, held 18 market stalls, and managed to sell her book in 60 retail outlets around Perth.
“It was a bit of a hectic year, I was also working as well as studying and working on my bird book,” she said.
“I was always multitasking, I would wake up before school at 5am and work on the book until 6am.
“Spreading it out and doing it in little sections made it more manageable.”
Her first print run of 200 books was something she thought her family and friends could enjoy, now at 18 she has sold 3200 books and donated more than $2000 to Kanyana Wildlife and Rehabilitation Centre.
When the hard drive baring all her photos crashed before her book was finalised, Talitha persisted and stuck to her vision of completing the book despite facing setbacks.
“Putting the book together was a mission,” she continued.
“But if you have the idea to do something and it keeps coming back to you, it’s a sign you should pursue it.”
Talitha said she plans to take a gap year and travel before beginning film and environmental studies at university in 2023.
As for her next book, she recently printed a cookbook including recipes with a minimal impact on the environment, she said she would also like to work on a second bird book covering metropolitan or coastal birds.