Four years, one hundred stories and more than 150,000 words ago, I began this blog.
The discipline of writing a new story every fortnight had a big impact. It killed my career. Or, to be more accurate, it led me to decide to put an end to the most recent stage of my career.
Late last year, after long discussions with my partner, I decided to leave academia (I haven’t quite left yet). My university is fantastic, my colleagues wonderful and the pay packet hard to refuse. But it is time to grow and learn new skills.
The skill I’d most like to improve upon is: to work out how to write better stories about nature, the environment and our place in it, so we can save more of it.
So this year I went back to uni as a student rather than as a lecturer. (At the moment I’m still juggling both tasks, but soon I’ll be ‘just’ a student.) I am studying a Masters degree in journalism. My aim is to bring journalistic skills to ecology rather than the other way around.
Ironically, while the impetus for a change in career was to write better stories, the short term outcome has been exactly the opposite. Since going to class, I’ve haven’t posted a single new story and I don’t see much chance of doing so. Which leads, of course, to the title of this post.
I have decided – reluctantly – to put this blog to sleep.
This blog may not be completely dead, but it is about to hibernate for a long, long time. Please don’t unsubscribe. The odd story may enter your inbox one day, but a new post will be a surprise rather than a regular event.
Before bowing out, I’d like to thank you all for sharing, commenting, linking and – most of all – for reading so many posts over the last four years.
The thing I’ve found most humbling about blogging is – before I wake up on a Sunday morning (I’m not an early riser), many of you have read my new post, shared it on social media or written a comment.
I don’t find that engrossing from an egotistical point of view. Instead, the realization that we can write positive things about the environment that people want to read first thing on a Sunday morning, over coffee and toast, blows my mind. If we can learn how to do that more often, we’ve got it made.
I have no idea what the future will bring – that is the attraction for doing something new – but I’m sure I’ll find more ways to deliver better stories in the future. In the meantime, you can re-live some of the most popular posts by clicking on the images above or by visiting the Greatest Hits page.
Thank you all once again, and keep up your wonderful work in caring for our amazing environment. Best wishes, Ian.
The background pictures in the images above are taken from the following sources: Steve Jobs, Never blog in PJs, Secrets of well being, Forgotten woodlands and Mallee frost.
Oh no Ian, I’ll miss your regular-ish posts, they always made me think and challenge myself to remember and to appreciate. Don’t be away too long before ‘the occasional’ pops into our inboxes. Enjoy yourself in your new style of whatever it will be and wherever it will take you. Thank you.
I agree with kayepea, and just started to subscribe to your blog. Hopefully you will be back here blogging to your journalistic best and your scientific finest!
Thanks SoundEagle, stayed tuned. Best wishes, Ian
You are very welcome, Ian!
I would like to inform you that you might find one of my posts relevant to your research and interest in ecology. It is published as an academic and highly stylized post at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/do-plants-and-insects-coevolve/
In addition, it contains an extensive list of references and related papers and sources of information at the end of the post.
Please enjoy! I look forward to reading your feedback at the said post there.
Wow! Good luck for the future and look forward to hearing, occasionally, of your progress!
A part of me wishes you well Ian on your new path. I hope you come back better than ever to tell your outstanding stories. Another part wonders why van Gogh needs to go to art school.
The world needs more of you Ian Lunt. Two years ago I left over a decade of working in museums for a new career in sustainability (with a M Environment under my belt). Now I’m a hybrid, bringing all the cultural and digital production values of museums to my new career. Good luck with the study and new career! And looking forward to your surprise posts:)
Thanks for taking the time to maintain such an interesting and informative blog for so long, I will be one of the many who will miss it. To think you could improve your writing skills had never occurred to me, I thought you would have to be one of the best Australian ecology writers around. I look forward to your new career and I know you will make a huge impact on our environment through educating and inspiring the masses, just like you have already done with so many of us that work with the natural environment.
I have always been amazed by how you can write so much so well, and about stuff that is so interesting. It is good to find out the truth; you are human after all. Thanks for the fantastic blogging and all the best with your Masters.
All power to you Ian – may you become Australia’s Aldo Leopold. (No pressure). Looking forward to some gems in the future that can be spread far and wide!
Ian, it has been a pleasure to read you. Likewise, I’m struggling to update my blog around uni commitments. Constant assignment writing is not something I’m used to nor does it leave much energy for other writing. I look forward to the odd surprise update: you always have something worthwhile to say. Best wishes, Toni.
A tad sad but reassuring to know that there’ll be more perceptive and entertaining writing eventually coming our way.
Big thanks for all your efforts!
Ian, you’re an inspiration as always. All the best with the studies. I think it’s a wonderful idea. And, no – I certainly won’t be unsubscribing from your blog. I hope that unpredictability heightens anticipation and enjoyment for the next post (especially given how often I manage to post, it’s certainly a strategy of mine!)
Best wishes 😊 Dayna
Wow! What an inspiring and courageous decision to step away from such a successful academic career Ian. Truly inspiring. I hope you inspire others to follow their hearts. Good luck with the study. I’m looking forward to watching your journalism career develop.
Thanks everyone, for all your best wishes. I am most grateful. And thanks too to all of the other bloggers who inspired me along the way. Cheers Ian
While I am disappointed that I won’t be reading more blog posts, I totally understand the time issues and the need to move on to other things. I wondered how you could have the time to post and do all your other commitments! You’ve kept the blog alive for so long already and so generously shared the blogs of others on Facebook and Twitter. Your encouragement helped me feel I could share more wildlife pics in mine. I hope to be reading other kinds of writing of yours in the future. Very best wishes with your new endeavours. You’ve been an inspiration to me. I think your friendliness towards those who are ordinary environment lovers and not qualified scientists is admirable and will go a long way to bridging the gap between academic science and the general public. Thank you! Jane
I second this, beautifully put Jane
Thanks for your inspiring blogs Ian. On the one hand, I will miss them, but on another level, I understand the decision you have made and the reasons for it. In a world of PR spin, science needs more credible voices in the media that can sort truth from myth. The climate change and alpine grazing debates are two I can think of in which vested interests have distorted the science to their own ends. Best wishes. Look forward to hearing your keynote speech at Fed Uni’s Biodiversity Conference in June. Cheers.
Ian, may you and your wonderful partner enjoy the next phase of life. I’ve just joined the list, and have been really impressed with your posts. Looking forward to them in future. And maybe see you in Albury one day soon. Jim
Thankyou for all your wonderful blog posts, I’ve enjoyed them and have learned so much from them. Sad to hear they’ll be few and far between now, but best of luck in your new pursuits.
Ian I will miss your blog but at least I know something new will emerge from your new degree training. You have an extensive network of contacts to source your stories to build your journalism career and that will be put way ahead of your competitors in selling your copy to the sub-editors. This is what a politician would call a courageous decision. Good luck to you and Jill.
😦 I follow few blogs. I don’t have enough time to read many, so I’m choosy on which ones I do follow and read. I even have less time to post on my own blog(s). Yours is one of three that I routinely read. I find your posts refreshing, not only in your writing style but also your views on ecology.
However, I empathize with your decision to ‘move on’. Went through such a move myself two years ago when I left academia without a look behind me. Now I volunteer full-time at wildlife refuges, both as a field biologist and naturalist interpreter.
I wish all the best for following a new Path.
And hope you come back here and post! 🙂
Well done Ian. It’s been an interesting and useful journey, marked by integrity. Very best wishes for whatever the next journey might be. And thanks. Phil
Thanks so much for your sharing your insightful and challenging thoughts Ian. Sincerely hope you keep contributing and inspire a whole new audience. Best wishes.
Ian, congratulations on your new quests. Please do leave us a post when you’re so moved. On the other hand, do be free to let your mind stay “un-jelled” as long as it takes. I’m thinking of you being in your chrysalis – for the right amount of time.
Very very sorry to read this Ian you have done a great piece of work. When I gave up practicing science to become an ABC journalist in 1969 I had hoped to ‘change the world’ so I wish you great success. Good luck.
Good Morning Ian,
Thank you for bringing us so much important and relevant information to feed our minds. Your knowledge, thoughts, appraisals and honest writing style will contribute greatly to your Degree and its outcomes. I too, wondered how you would cope with the workload so am not surprised you will only be posting intermittently. I always think of you as Australia’s David Attenborough! Perhaps you will have your own program one day, focusing entirely on our Ecology. After all, if a Vet can make a TV show a top rating series, then why not a brilliant scientist and communicator!?!? Wishing you and your family all the very best during this exciting new stage of your life and career.
Good luck Ian! I’ve really enjoyed reading your work and hope that it’s not long before more of your wonderful writing is out in the world.
Thank you so much for your insightful and inspiring posts and also your important ecological research on disturbance, restoration, grazing impacts and Themeda triandra. Thank you also for inspiring me to be an ecologist with your relevant and thoughtful science and helping my students (I recommend your blog to my undergraduate students and HDRs), and myself think more deeply about historical change, local knowledge and what resilient landscapes mean in Australia. Your deep narratives and thoughtful pros communicate scientific ideas in a way that truly reaches people. I became an ecologist because I wanted to change how we manage landscapes and I thought at first I could that with science, but I think now that the path you are taking in journalism with your deep ecological knowledge and unique writing gift is the way to do it. Wishing you all the very best with your new and exciting career. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.
Wonderful new career for you. Perfect decision and all the best with being a student again. I embarked on reinventing myself at 50 as an ecologist and 10,000 hours later …..still feel really positive about the move. You’ve done a magnificent job to date in communicating science effectively but understand the need and urgency to reach and educate a wider audience so wait alongside all your fans for news of how it’s all going and what you’ve learnt along the way.
Thanks Ian for so many wonderful stories. I am going to miss them. I wish you all the very best for your next series of challenges.
Best wishes, Luke Short.
Thanks for the great posts Ian & good luck in the future.
I will miss your words and thoughts and knowledge of ecology. You inspired me when I was your student and your blogs continued to do this – you planted the seed for me to start blogging. Good luck with journalism – I think that is a great move for you. You have a great writing style already so I can’t wait to see what you produce in the future. A sad loss for CSU and future students. Keep in touch and try to blurt out a blog every now and then! I hope you maintain the FB page Australia’s Best Ecology Blogs. Steve.
Ian, I am a relatively late follower of your blog, but really appreciated your scientific insights into ecology and the human relationship with nature. Science definitely needs people able to communicate and write effective and engaging narratives. I hope your studies in journalism assist in making you a master storyteller that engages people. Sometimes it is better to retreat, to change and grow, and metamorphose into something even more beautiful and engaging. I’ll watch out for surprise blog posts along the next part of your journey. John Englart
As stated by an old Greek philosopher; everything changes and nothing stands still. Enjoy the new phase of your life!
Reading your stories has been fun. I will always enjoy a future story if it makes its way out of your imagination into the cyber world!
And finally, as replied by you on many occasions…
Hi Ian and I wish you success with the change in your career path. I understand the joys of juggling study and work and blogging, and hope one day you will be able to return to the blogging world. All the best for the future.
I had only recently found my way to your blog through another one and your are set to leave!
Here’s wishing you the best, and of course I won’t be unsubscribing. Till we meet again!
Hi Ian, Thanks for a great blog. Sad to hear it’s going to sleep for a while, but all things must pass. But It’s terrific that you will no doubt be writing more and better stories in the future. I share your passion for enlivening ecology and other aspects of nature through story, and think it’s an approach that many people are thirsting for (as can be seen by the comments to this post!). Best wishes for your future endeavors and I’m looking forward to see what will emerge.
Ian, delighted to have known you through your CSU journey. I wish you every success in this new phase of your life and career ….. whatever happens people will be the better off for knowing you. Regards Rhonda Sinclair
Oh no I have only just subscribed, but I will enjoy reading your back stories while you are absent (which I hope won’t be for long). There are some things in the world I just don’t understand and giving up writing to learn how to is one of them.
The combination of a nature writer with a person who also knows the science should be pretty powerful.
Best of luck!
Best wishes Ian! I look forward to hearing what the future holds for you.
I have really enjoyed reading your blogs. I will miss them. Tad sad that you are leaving academia, however I’m sure that your knowledge, skills, passion and drive will not be lost to ecology. All the best with your future.
best of luck, and thanks for the informative and engaging posts. It’s fantastic to see a scientist finally realising that while scientific knowledge is a necessary condition to set about solving the human-induced environment crisis, it is not sufficient. More strength to your pen. Let us all know of any new blogs you might launch.
Thanks for all the stories and ideas Ian.
Im sure your influence will continue to appear in academia even without a formal position. And I look forward to the emergence of a possible new Crosbie Morrison. We certainly need one.
Your blog has been fantastic for linking together ideas, science and people in the landscape. Your encouragement to others has been really important. Good luck with your next steps.
I have loved your blog for its clarity, ecological insight and for its sparky presentation of complex ideas. Thanks Ian. I think its wonderful you are fully giving yourself to a new career rather than keeping a foot in two demanding worlds. How wonderful to think that the knowledge and stories gathered and stored during your academic career will become a harvest shared with the broader community. Seeds of positive change.
I have been so inspired by your writing and passion in communicating your love of ecology and the Australian natural environment to everyone. Looking forward to reading about your next development and your new stories in your occaisonal posts. Good luck. cheers
Simply – Thank-you! Wishing you all the best with the new direction
Dear readers, thank you very much for your generous feedback. I certainly did not anticipate receiving anywhere near this much feedback (plus more on Twitter and Facebook). It is most humbling. Thanks once again for all your support. If you use Facebook, please follow the ‘Australia’s best ecology blogs’ page to support all the other great bloggers out there. They are doing fantastic things. Thanks again and best wishes, Ian.
Good luck and thanks for the posts Ian. I sometimes consider the same shift in direction for myself, so I hope to learn how it goes for you someday. The comparison of your past with your future efforts will be a great lesson about what ecological science really means.
What an inspiring read and a wonderful journey! All you say is so true. How wonderful to share positive stories of nature! I look forward to seeing more.
Hi Ian, I am certain we will be reading a lot more fantastic and challenging writing from you very soon. A big change and a great challenge – sounds exciting, good on you!
Best wishes and looking forward to catching up soon.
I had the pleasure of telling Steve Packard about your Steve Packard blog posting. BTW, Packard also writes beautifully and does much to inspire environmental action.
The Broken Creek Field Naturalists Club of Numurkah wish you well Ian, but we’ll all miss your insightful blog . We still get very positive responses from your presentation at our South Eastern Australian Naturalists Association Conference/ Annual Camp in 2013. Thanks for the years of fabulous reading ! Cheers
Thank you Ian for all your work, in both academia and communication. I wish you well on your new path, and look forward to reading more of your stories in the future!
Thanks for all the lovin’ Ian, and congratulations on your “Brilliant Career” – an inspiration to us all. May the next one be just as good for you and all. Go well.
Ian, your blog has been all that others have already said in their comments. What an inspiring decision from an inspirational blogger. Best wishes – I’m looking forward to your future contributions, and also backwards to those posts I missed before I subscribed.
Thanks for the many great reads (and links to the many other places to procrastinate). I enjoyed the blog very much, though having only found it in the last year I still have old posts I can catch up on.