10 minutes with Nature

(Or Ode to Ecology Part 2)

We have a cicada plague* at home. The house we rent is bordered on two sides by a tiny patch of remnant eucalypt woodland. It is infested with cicadas, which started singing here around September. At first it was an occasional chirp, almost unnoticeable. But the heat of the last few of weeks means the chorus has swelled. At peak cicada, we can no longer hear traffic on the Hume Freeway, about 300 metres away. Thankfully, cicada chatter is much less offensive to the ear…although some claim it can damage your hearing, and the cicada boom has unfortunately resulted in the disappearance of most of the birds we see very morning.

Continue reading

Ode to Ecology

It’s been over three years since I wrote my first post here. This column started as a creative outlet for my writer’s soul, as I tackled the confines of academic science writing.

I also saw it as a way to champion my new career. When I wrote my first post, I had encountered many people, including family and friends, who were genuinely puzzled over what I actually ‘do’.

I remember my stint in the unemployment queue during the fiscal fiasco. “I’m an ecologist”, I said to the government careers adviser.

She looked at me blankly and replied “Sorry, a what? How do you spell that?” Continue reading