Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Camel Song - camel control hip-hop straight outta the AP Lands by Lee Brady and Morganics...

An astonishing bit of collaboration has appeared on Youtube; this is a bit of hip-hop freestyling on the theme of camel control in the AP Lands by local elder Lee Brady, produced by Sydney-based hip-hop renaissance man, Morganics.

I particularly like the inclusion of some arabic flute in the background and the buzzing fly sample could be the best use of this sound since Monty Python's "Bruces" sketch.

There's not a whole lot more to say - just watch the video.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Buffel Busting to Protect our Significant Trees

Further to our post yesterday about the Land for Wildlife Significant Tree Register, it is worth mentioning the great success of Alice Springs Landcare at their annual Buffel-Busting day last weekend. Arid lands eco guru Peter Latz was on hand to give his thoughts on the scourge of Buffel and came up with some interesting insights into the role of insects as a potential biological control of the grass. You can read a bit about this here.

Buffel control is a critical issue in relation to our significant trees. Older trees, surrounded by thick growths of Buffel are at greater risk during destructive fires. One of the important messages that Landcare's weekend activities related is that Buffel control around old trees should be considered a priority, especially during a heightened fire danger season.

Buffel control is by no means a new issue, but it is certainly one that is not going to go away without a lot of hard work and ingenuity. We can't afford to become complacent about Buffel control - the cost of letting it run rampant has already been high for many landscapes and ecosystems in Central Australia.

Another interesting read is this interview with Margaret Friedel and Peter Latz from way back in 2006.

The Fire Chief - all-in-one water tank/pump/hose unit

Click this picture for the full size brochure image.
This is an innovative bit of gear that has been developed by local Chris Newton. Most of the details are in the brochure image above.

We thought that as summer approached, this might be a useful unit for a few LfW properties. Easily manhandled into a ute or trailer when empty, the 1000l tank can be half filled at which weight it will still be possible to transport in most good trailers. At full capacity any decent trayback ute will cope with the weight.

Perhaps a group of neighbours could get together and share the cost of a unit for their area.

Contact Chris directly on 0429 207 974,

or email him,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Significant Trees in Central Australia - where are yours?

"A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit."
Greek Proverb

Ghost Gum Corymbia apparerinja. Prince Roy, Wikicommons.
The ancient Greeks probably had it both figuratively and literally right with this proverb. What could be better than thinking ahead about future generations and the possible enjoyment they might derive from having beautiful, big trees throughout the community?

Land for Wildlife would like to find out where all those trees are that the old men and women of Centralian history planted. Maybe they didn't plant them, but protected and venerated them. Central Australia has a wealth of significant trees and we'd like to hear about trees that are significant to you. What are their special meanings? What are their stories? What is it that makes them so special?

Shortly, all Land for Wildlife and Garden for Wildlife members will be sent a nomination form for a new register of significant trees that we are putting together. The hope is that this register can one day be integrated with a national database in partnership with the National Trust. The online and smartphone versions of the Victorian and NSW versions of the Trust Trees program are already impressive and useful tools for dendrophiles in those parts of the country. Have a look at the Victorian website here.

You can nominate almost any tree that fits the significance criteria. It doesn't need to be on your land, but we need to have as much information about the tree as possible to make it a worthwhile addition to the register; historical, cultural, and scientific information about the tree in question is crucial to supporting your nomination for the significance of a particular tree or stand of trees. The tree doesn't even need to be alive; dead trees still provide valuable wildlife habitat and many Centralian species are just as photogenic and magnificent in death as they were in life.

The criteria for nomination are all detailed on the nomination form and we would love to get as many as possible to get this register up and running before the end of the year.

Keep an eye out for your nomination form soon!

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's Beardy Season!

Central Bearded Dragon Pogona vitticeps.
Herp-aware gardeners are probably already noticing an increase in the amount of reptile activity at the moment. With the onset of warmer weather, all things reptilian are making their way out into the open to sun themselves and get energised for the breeding season ahead.

Probably the most obvious sign of the return of reptile-friendly weather is the Central Bearded Dragon Pogona vitticeps. These magnificent lizards are sprawled out over the roads at the moment and are an all too frequent victim of roadkill. They are able to slowly adjust the colour of their skin to help with the regulation of their body temperature which often makes them more difficult to see. From bright orange or yellow, to almost jet black and sometimes beautifully patterned they have a wide repertoire of colours which can also express changes in mood during threat displays or courtship.

They also have a subtle system of body signals used to communicate between males and females and between dominant and subordinate males. These consist mainly of different styles and speeds of head bobbing actions but they also use hand waving gestures, usually to signal submission during competition or courtship.

The most obvious tool for communication in the arsenal of the Central Bearded Dragon is the eponymous beard. The spikes look dangerous but are actually much softer to the touch than they appear; they serve to make the beard appear more frightening. During threat displays or displays of sexual dominance the beard can be erected and puffed up by a similar set of muscles used by the related Frill-necked Lizard Chlamydosaurus kingii to erect its famous adornment. Males can also make the beard significantly darker than the surrounding skin to increase the impact of the effect.

Of course, bearded dragons are not the only ones who can use a beard to great effect. Movember is just over the horizon. For the uninitiated, Movember is a charity event organised to raise awareness and funding for mens' health.  To participate all you need to do is cultivate your facial hair for the month of November. The rest of the details can be found on their website at; Movember.

Then if you'd like to take your facial hair to the world stage, perhaps you should have a look at this website; The World Beard Championships.

Who would have thought that "bearding" could be an international competition? Isn't the world an amazing place?