The Penguin Lady - Angelika Treichler.
The Penguin Lady - Angelika Treichler, 'The Face of the Extraordinary' - community series, 40 x 40cm, oil & wax on canvas,© Stephanie Brown.
I just met an extraordinary lady called Angelika who just happens to be head penguin protector at Manly. Angelika has dedicated the last six years of her life protecting the dwindling population of little penguins. Every night you'll find a dedicated team of volunteers down at Manly wharf informing the public about little penguins while making sure they have a safe passage home.
Angelika has a blog she writes for the Manly Environment Centre. She has won the Eco Awards ‘Unsung Heroes for the Environment’ and Manly's Citizen of the Year 2008.
When my daughter was very small, playing on Manly beach one day, a curious little penguin came right up to her and touched her with his flipper. It was a magical brief encounter she'll never forget. Perhaps he was the troublesome one they call Mr Sticky Beak. Angelika kindly shared her thoughts with me on life and penguins.
"They're not called fairy penguins any more, they're called little penguins instead as it's politically incorrect. But we still call them fairy penguins. The other day was the last full moon. That's when all the penguins come out, they like the full moon. Even the little ones who normally hide under the jetty all came out and they were all dancing in a line along the water’s edge in the sparkling moonlight and their chests were glistening. They looked so precious, just like fairies and then I understood why they're called fairy penguins. Their flippers looked like little fairy wings and they looked so beautiful, that’s why I still call them fairy penguins, they have so much grace when they dance.
You can read Angelika's story in the soon to be published book of portraits called Face of Extraordinary: Volunteers.