The Wilderness: Amy Eleanor Mack

Stories build a relationship between subject and audience that is deeply emotional and personal. Art can enhance the audience’s nature connection, and stories about natural systems and wildlife can determine how the reader connects with those systems. This is particularly true for children.

Australia has a wonderful heritage of nature writers, many working before nature writing was ‘a thing’. The national collection of Australian children’s books about native wildlife is inspiring. Even more inspiring, many of Australia’s best nature stories were written in the early-mid 19th century, and mostly by women.   Continue reading

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.

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Plastic Bees

There has been a flurry of excitement in the media over a recently-published observational study describing the “behavioural flexibility and adaptation” of solitary bees to our “plastic-rich environments”. In a nutshell, during the course of a larger field study looking at wild bees in urban landscapes, researchers in Toronto discovered that some urban Megachile bee species in the city had lined their nest cells with plastic materials. Continue reading

Slow Food in the Fast Lane

Urban agriculture itself is not news, but the reviving interest in edible urban ecosystems is exciting, as it has the potential to change the way we relate to food, Nature and society. Community gardens, urban permaculture, edible landscapes, forest gardens, market gardens – label it however you like, it all boils down to people growing and harvesting their own food, instead of buying it from a ‘middle man’…which should come naturally to all of us!

Although many urban agriculture systems were developed to profit from the produce (e.g. through farmer’s markets or barter systems), there is increasing interest in more ‘passive’ urban food production – incorporating permanent food plants into urban planning schemes, and allowing the local community to reap the benefits at their leisure. Continue reading