Fire and the dragon leaf

Smaug the Magnificent (and excerpt from John Howe). Dragons. Huge, fire-breathing, flying reptiles. Sometimes cunning, sometimes chatty, often noble and inscrutable, occasionally savage and despicable. Always covetous of gold and precious items. Dragons are probably the fantastical creature that has most permeated our modern world. Everyone knows about dragons. Every region has…

A new toolbox toxin that can take out an elephant

Whilst hiking in Arthur’s Pass, there is always one plant that never fails to catch my eye. I notice it, not because of its’ beauty or its phenomenal size, but because of the alarm bells that go off in my head when I see it. This plant is Coriaria arborea,…

C’mon guys, let’s get forest-fire wise!

Ever since I was a child, I have been a nervous wreck of a person. I guess, with time, and the responsibilities of growing up, the nervousness and anxiety got worse. However, I was lucky enough to recognize I had a problem and did something about it. I received help…

A Deadly Seabird Stampede?

When you think of birds in New Zealand’s forests you might imagine a tui serenading you from the treetops, or perhaps the iconic kiwi scurrying through the undergrowth. What probably doesn’t spring to mind is the shrieking of hundreds of thousands of seabirds as they crash-land on the forest floor….

Fire and Shire

It is a strange old time that we are living through, with much of the world in a pandemic lockdown. In times of stress I have a safe space that I return to that has worked throughout my life. A trip to Middle-Earth is a great comfort to me. I…

Heavy metal remediation: Defusing the ticking chemical bomb

“Conflict” Picture made by San Jose Think about these questions: 1. Do you understand what is meant by heavy metal pollution?2. Do you know which heavy metals cause pollution? 3. Do you know which methods can control and reduce heavy metal pollution? 4. Have you ever had a heavy metal…

Native plants bring all the (wana)bees to the yard

Pollination is a vital service that many insect species do us the honour of performing. Pollinators allow us to enjoy the many different flowers, fruits and vegetables that grow as a result. In New Zealand the exotic honey bee (Apis mellifera), along with the bumblebee, is the most abundant pollinator….

An ode to Mt Kaputar National Park: A little piece of New Zealand in a wide, brown land

Tim Curran is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pest-management and Conservation at Lincoln University. Here he shares his passion for a little bit of New Zealand in Australia. Mt Kaputar National Park, in northern New South Wales, is my favourite national park, for several reasons. First, there is…

Tree guards and weed mats: is protection worth the cost?

Back when I started as a fresh-faced lecturer at Lincoln University in the mid 90s I contributed to a third year class called Wildlife Management.  Graham Hickling was the main lecturer and provided the heft of wildlife management. He had lots of hands-on experience in working with possums, stoats, rabbits…

Can a micro-organism help replace fossil fuels with biofuels?

The world we are living in is so dynamic and vibrant. Let’s imagine for a while. What if the world suddenly runs out of coal, gas and oil. It is not hard to predict that the vehicle tanks would become dry, airplanes would be grounded, many industrial processes would be halted,…