Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Joondalup Natural Bush Regeneration

It's really ironic that two arson attacks earlier this year could have led to the magical regeneration that is now taking place in Joondalup's Central Park. The Conservation and Land management students at TAFE up there have been using Central Park for various studies and excercises, so at the time of the fires everyone was more than a little dissapointed. Yet knowing how important fire can be to the natural process of regeneration, it was only matter of time and now, thanks to recent rains it is all kicking off. I've yet to fully identify this Drosera, or the insect performing its routine thereupon (yes, looks like a fly, but which one ?), but there's a stack of Droseras popping up all through Central Park along with a veritable smorgasbord of other plants. Some of us will be keeping a very close eye on it all in the months ahead, especially as the fungi and orchid seasons quickly approach.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wildflowers of Western Australia

Just a few shots from the past couple of weeks as I prepare the next selection for Garden Picture Library in the UK.

Testing water for Macro Invertebrates

Although we're coming to the end of Certificate II in Conservation & Land Management, a Cert' III unit in Water Testing is already being undertaken. It's proving to be quite interesting and this past week it was down to Lake TAFE for samples and the discovery of numerous Macro Invertebrates - important little critters for the indication of chemicals, pollutants and overall water quality.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wicked wicking bed for the vegie patch

It seems that the Conservation and Horticulture departments at Joondalup TAFE have taken to the concept of 'Wicking Beds' to grow vegetables in a really big way. If you don't know what a 'Wicking Bed' is, then Google it. Of course, being TAFE, the hard slogging slave labour is provided by us students and we began yesterday by digging out the reticulation trenches for the entire area. Apparently, the area will be used to grow vegies in a traditional manner, while one large 'Wicking Bed' will be built for comparison. As a home vegie gardner myself, it's a project I will be following with keen interest over the coming months.
(Photos above show Adam doing his best council worker impersonation, while Emma gets trenching. Also shown are lecturers Mike O'Halloran and Brooke Fellowes complete with sticky bun in a bag).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Developers & Conservation

Am I a pessamist, or are we now really seeing developers begin to take conservation seriously ?
I've just been reading a PDF file regarding the new Trinity housing estates, er sorry, Villages, up at Alkimos and can't believe what I am reading.
Despite the fact that an entire coastal ecosystem (s) has been wiped out by the Barnett bulldozer gang just south of Yanchep, the Trinity crew will be collecting endemic seed from the area.
The seeds will then be propogated in their own nursery (yes, a developer with a native nursery, go figure ...), with the resulting plants to be used for lanscaping in the new villages.
New houses will have eco-logicial front yard landscaping packages and over six-thousand cockatoo friendly trees will be re-planted in an effort to assist the endangered Carnaby's Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris).
Mixed in with the usual spin doctoring about water-wise sustainable gardens and energy-efficient homes, it all sounds so delightful and beautiful.
Yet, much of it goes against what I am learning in my Conservation and Land Management studies at TAFE.
The use of mulches and 'native plant' fertilisers to assist with revegetation is something I'm writing against in a current assignment for starters.
Inevitably too and despite the supposed enthusiasm for native plants, the quest to have a nice pretty lawn will ensure even more stress on Perth's water supply while the chemicals to feed it will keep a steady stream of pollutants flowing to the already stressed ground water system.
I also dread to think of the impact on nearby Yanchep National Park, especially in ten, twenty or more years time, when all of the Nanna Plants planted in the new gardens have escaped, adapted and become major weeds.
And can you really bulldoze an area and then expect good intentions mixed with key phrases or in vogue methods to restore some semblance of the natural environment ?
I won't answer that one.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

turning green ?

Is it my imagination, or is the local bush really turning greener as winter approaches ? Craigie Bush Reserve, which has become my own almost private study area, is certainly a whole lot greener than what it was 3 weeks ago. And there is now definite activity happening in there with plants budding and even flowering, not to mention more than a few bursts of fungi here and there. Ah yes, fungi, one of my favourite subjects, but also a constant headache on the identification front.

Top of the Class

I really shouldn't boast, but after achieving a 100% score in my first endemic plant identification test, I thought a post was in order.
Apparently, only about 5 or 6 students have ever achieved a 100% score in this test since the course began.
Personally, I can't ever remember cracking a 100% score in any exam ever, but I guess this proves the point that my knowledge of endemic plants didn't begin in February when I started the Conservation & Land Management studies up at Joondalup TAFE.
The photography endevours and my specialising in the photography of native plants has been on-going for over a decade now, although the CLM studies have certainly added structure to what was otherwise an 'amateur' knowledge base that had many, many gaps needing to be filled in.

New Directions ...

Well here goes with the first post in six months and the first post since I decided to head in a whole new career direction.
I don't feel that it is appropriate to dissect all of the reasons for my decisions here and now, although I am still contracted to a major Australian car magazine publisher - but am only commiting to selected shoots and write ups on that front.
After a lifetime of interest in nature, animals, plants and the environment, I identified the Conservation and Land Management studies through TAFE as possibly providing me with a means to an end, so to speak.
I therefore began studying Cert II in Conservation and Land Management at Joondalup TAFE back in February and although the course takes up 'only' Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week, there are assignments and other things in life I need to take care off.
Despite the fact that I have not been to school (actually, it was Newtownabbey Technical College near Belfast where I studied General Engineering and specialised in electronics) since 1982, I have taken to the CLM course at Joondalup like the proverbial duck to water.
But will it lead to a decent job and if so when ?
Those indeed, are the golden questions.