The Candles of Dunkeld

An aerial photo of the boundary between treeless grasslands and grassy woodlands in the Dunkeld region.

The boundary between treeless grasslands and grassy woodlands in the Dunkeld region. Source: Google Earth.

Longevity is the iron lung of a woodland tree – life support for an ageing population.

The woodlands of Dunkeld are among the most beautiful in the world. Stately old trees, scattered across grassy paddocks, frame the rugged Grampians Ranges in the distance. In another continent they could be oaks or olives, but in Dunkeld the trees are River Red Gums. Eucalyptus camaldulensis. Century old giants.

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In the future, how will restorationists think about the past?

The extinct Toolache Wallaby, as painted by John Gould. Source:  Wikipedia.

The extinct Toolache Wallaby, as painted by John Gould. Source: Wikipedia.

It’s easy to argue that history has a bigger influence on why we restore ecosystems than on how we restore them. As climate change intensifies, that distinction will grow. Continue reading

Communicating science. Does social media carve a gap between young and old readers?

broken typewriter

This workshop is great but how do we get more information out of you scientists when we get back home?

This question has been asked at nearly every community workshop I’ve ever attended. It highlights a big appetite for new information. Yet I was surprised at a recent workshop when a member of the audience answered the question, like this:

There’s heaps of great information by scientists on social media, on Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

It may not surprise you to learn that the person who asked the question was in their 50s and the person who answered it was in their 20s. (I hope I guessed both ages appropriately).

The exchange raises lots of questions about access to information on the web. Does social media create a digital divide across the generations? Do crowd sourcing and citizen science initiatives that rely on smartphones exclude sectors of society? Who is in the tent, and who is left outside? Continue reading

Lightning, trees & exploding people

mossy boulderOn a bed of moss on a large rock on a high knoll, below the summit of a steep, forested ridge, lies – prostrate and exposed – a slab of wood.

At first glance, it resembles a fence post, hewn roughly from the trunk of an old Black Cypress-pine. When buried upright, the thick slab would support a strong wire fence. But who would hew a post in such a remote place, and sacrifice their handiwork on a tall, granite boulder? Continue reading

Before/after photos: 2014 awards and new 2015 competition

Webb Newington 1995

Thank you to everybody who submitted their wonderful photos, and to all who viewed and voted in last year’s repeat photo competition.

When I announced the competition in February 2014 I had no idea whether any photos would be submitted. The response far exceeded my tentative expectations. Many readers have already requested that we do it all again in 2015. So ready, set, go – grab your cameras and start snapping, asap. But first, it’s time to enjoy the winning entries from the 2014 Inaugural Environmental Repeat Photo Competition (drum roll please)… Continue reading

Snap snap! Enjoy this wonderful gallery of repeat nature photos

Repeat header 1a

What a difference a year makes! In February, I invited readers to send in their favourite repeat monitoring photos, and you responded with an amazing series of fantastic images.

The goal was to promote ecosystem monitoring rather than gun photography. Nevertheless many of the photos tick both boxes, and combine great images with great observations. Now it’s your turn to select your favorite shots.

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Who will win the inaugural repeat photo competition?

Before After 2

Have you taken your snaps for the environmental repeat photo competition? If you have, it’s now time to enter.

At the start of the year, I announced a photo competition. The goal was to encourage everyone to get out in the bush and to record changes in their favourite ecosystem. It’s now time to submit your shots and then vote for your favourite repeat photos of 2014. Continue reading