Short articles

Articles I’ve written up to 400 words in length.

 

Econnect Communication newsletter articles

Communicating the science of climate change: Looking for the positives in climate change, Changing behaviour by imagining an adapting world, Using the media to communicate about climate change – 6 tips

Communicating the science of climate change, continued: Inaction on climate change – it’s not just ignorance, Changing behaviour – the nudge technique

New media: breathing new life into citizen science

Low packaging, no packaging

Cross-country collaboration

Decide on a date – scheduling with ease

Communicating in 3D

 


Women to get a taste of outdoor adventure on World Environment Day (audience: readers of Australian Women’s Health magazine)

Aussie women are gearing up to celebrate their connection with nature with exciting outdoor activities on World Environment Day, June 5.

Brisbane’s weekend-long celebrations include open-air fun at Greenfest in the City Botanic Gardens; and activities throughout the city with the Real Adventure Women program (RAW).

Anyone can try their hand at kickboxing, yoga, or dancing in the gardens at Greenfest. For the more adventurous, RAW’s schedule includes rock climbing, kite surfing, skydiving, paddling, yoga and more.

Greenfest director Colman Ridge says: ‘There is a massive connection between personal health and the planet’s health. [People have] to take care of themselves to take care of the planet.’

‘It’s about trying to find ways that best fit your lifestyle to help you become active,’ says CSIRO exercise researcher Grant Brinkworth. ‘Australia has a great climate that enables you to get out there and be more active, and we should,’ he says.

RAW director Jill Duffield says exercising in the outdoors is energising and uplifting: ‘You can do boxing in a smelly old hall or you can do it at the base of the Kangaroo Point cliffs in a beautiful setting.’

First time paddler Michelle Rowles, will be joining the RAW program on June 6. ‘I’m so excited to be trying something new. I’m passionate about the environment and just getting out there is a great way to experience it,’ she says.

The program provides a friendly, safe, supportive environment that encourages women to participate in outdoor adventures. Ms Duffield says: ‘If I’m outdoors doing something, it’s an added aspect of the activity.’

Greenfest brings together speakers, exhibitions, music, exercise and movement for Brisbane’s largest free green festival. It will be held in the City Botanic Gardens, June 5-7.

The current RAW program and booking information is available from Brisbane City Council on (07) 3403 8888.

 

 

Ranger Contact Enhances Bush Experience for Visitors (audience: Ecos ‘In Brief’ section)

Talking to a ranger or a guide when you visit the bush often reveals fascinating facts.

Now researchers have revealed that it also can give you a much better understanding of the area’s environmental issues. These are the findings of ecotourism experts from Brisbane’s Griffith University.

Queensland Environmental Protection Agency’s Go Bush and Connect with Nature starting June are two programs that use ranger-guided learning activities to teach.

While Go Bush reports many repeat-visitors, it also attracts first timers. Sandy Parsons, a newcomer at a Go Bush night, said: ‘We haven’t brought our kids to an organised [talk] before, so we learnt some new stuff and bit of quirky stuff too.’

EPA Ranger Kristen Collie says that family and school activities concentrate on the use of child-friendly language, games and specific themes.

This tailoring means children can pass on messages about things they have learnt. ‘It’s really good with children… because they can instil things in their parents,’ Ms Collie says.

Being able to channel appropriate messages to specific user groups is a major advantage of personalising educational messages, says Dr Terry Brown at Griffith University’s Tourism and Leisure Department.

Dr Brown says that people like social contact with guides who ‘have more contact with a place and understand the issues.’

Another example of tailored environmental information comes from ecotourism companies.

‘We use local guides with local knowledge who can show [tourists] things off the beaten track,’ Auswalk’s Melinda Ryan says. Auswalk’s mission is minimal impact hiking, so ‘we encourage people only to leave their footprints and photos,’ she says.

Messages from guides can be more effective than signs or brochures alone, because ‘despite the tech age, [people] still like that social contact’, Dr Brown says.

For details on the Go Bush or Connect with Nature programs, contact EPA Queensland (1300 130 372).

 


Amazing Plant Adaptations to Flooding (audience: The Helix magazine readers)

In the last few weeks, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have felt the effects of massive rainfall and storms. As you might have seen on the news, the rains caused flooding, property damage, drownings and cut off many roads.

But what about the effects on trees and plants when a flood hits?

Normally, plants function best when there is half water and half gas in the soil, just as we need to water to drink and air to breathe. But during floods, water cannot drain away from the soil and roots can be submerged.

If this happens, the plant can suffocate. But some plants can adapt to stop this happening!

Some plants start to use holes in their stems to absorb oxygen, called lenticels, instead of their roots. The way plants use energy and oxygen can change too – these are called metabolic changes. Some plants create bigger air spaces in their roots (called arenchyma) so oxygen transport is easier.

Others grow new roots from their stems, closer to the top of the water. Plant biologist Sarah Rich, from the University of Western Australia, says this can happen very quickly: ‘Two species I am working with have visible new roots within 12 hours of being flooded!’

Native Australian wetland plants can tolerate long floods, but for plants that cannot, Ms Rich says ‘growing even a few days underwater can lead to death, and this is very obvious once the water recedes.’

Ms Rich says if your garden gets boggy when it rains, check where the water is coming from. If it is running off the lawn, mixing gravel into the soil can improve lawn drainage. Raising garden beds can help also.

‘If you have a real problem area that floods ever winter why not create your own mini wetland! There are many beautiful native wetland plants available at nurseries and you could even put in a small pond and encourage some of our native frogs to call your garden home!’ Ms Rich says.

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