Who will win the inaugural repeat photo competition?

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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

Snapshots of change: repeat photography competition

Tree dieback Mt Pilot

I know what you didn’t do last summer. You forgot to take a photo.

Remember how dry it was last summer? Drought-stressed trees shed their leaves on dry hill slopes across central Victoria. Many readers submitted their observations of dieback to an earlier blog post.

What happened to those trees? Did they re-grow their canopy during the year, coppice and re-sprout, or did they die, leaving gaps for other plants of the same or different species. More importantly, in years to come, how will we know how each patch changed? Continue reading

Field guide to the future

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My first field guide. A 35 cent bargain.

I could ask “what was your first field guide?” but my first field guides belonged to my parents, not me. So instead I’ll ask “what was the first field guide you remember using?”

I remember two: Trees of Victoria by Leon Costermans – a permanent resident of the car glove box – and Birds of the Ranges by the Gould League. I am indebted to the authors and illustrators of both. Without them, I may have led a different life.

Our Costermans bore the hallmark of a truly great field guide; after years of abuse, we stripped it of every skerrick of re-sale value. One summer, someone put a block of copha in the car glove box to protect it from the sun. When discovered weeks later, everything floated in a pool of coconut fat. It was awesome. Costermans was indestructible. Like the trees inside it, we created the world’s first rip-proof, water-proof, scented, and highly combustible, field guide to eucalypts.

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What makes a field guide truly great? Continue reading