Rewilding England’s wildflower habitats – with Bryan Raines

Growing up in Northern Ireland, my dad used to take us on a spring Sunday afternoon to a magical place he called Bluebell Wood. I can’t remember where it was, but it must have been one of the few wooded areas locally where native bluebells blossom under native trees.

As well as looking beautiful, wildflower ecosystems are important forage for bees and critical for a range of species of native butterflies and other insects. In turn, these provide food for birds and reptiles.

In the UK, these habitats should be particularly special to us Humans because they have co-existed with human pastoral activity for thousands of years. Unfortunately with modern monocultural chemical farming practices, wildflower ecosystems have drastically declined in the UK.

On this show recorded in early March 2017, I chat with Bryan Raines from Test Valley in Hampshire, England, about the methods he, with the help of his wife Uli,  has used to restore a variety of wildflower habitats on what was just bare grassland when their property was purchased some 20 years ago. It‘s a great success story, thanks to Bryan and Uli’s dedication, with 35 different species of butterfly reported seen on the property – each species adapted to the different wildflower ecosystems that have been created.

To listen to this programme about WILDFLOWER HABITATS please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=1cd41220-2090-4468-8723-ce2f12c39af5

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

This show was originally broadcast on the 6th April 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Bryan Raines

Bryan in a wood he has rewilded. Once livestock were excluded, the bluebells returned from dormant seed.

A variety of livestock allowed temporarily onto the land, are an essential part of restoring and maintaining wildflower ecosystems.

 

 

 

Woodland Creation in Northern Ireland – with Gregor Fulton

With soft leaf litter below my feet, I feel my shoulder relax within seconds of entering under the shady canopy of trees. A country can’t have too much forest cover as far as I am concerned! Not only do forests possess intrinsic value beyond measure, they provide us with oxygen, clean our air, reduce runoff and flooding, are home to much of the biodiversity of the world, and act as carbon sinks. New Zealand, with 31.87% of its land in forest cover, is one of the reasons why I love my adopted home so much.

Northern Ireland used to be almost totally covered in forest, but now at just 6% coverage it is one of the least forested countries in the world. This needs to change. Let’s re-wood Northern Ireland again!

In this show, recorded on the 2nd September 2016 I spoke to Gregor Fulton, Operations Manager at The Woodland Trust in Bangor in Northern Ireland about forest creation – and what is happening to reverse forest loss and to create new woodlands in Northern Ireland.

To listen to this programme about Woodland Creation in Northern Ireland please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=f01e4231-9500-411f-99c3-7bd47cf29e1c

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 15th September 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Gregor Fulton at The Woodland Trust's headquarters in Northern Ireland

Gregor Fulton at The Woodland Trust’s headquarters in Northern Ireland

 

Entrance to the Crawfordburn Tree Nursery where many of the trees commissioned to be planted by The Woodland Trust are grown

Entrance to the Crawfordburn Tree Nursery where many of the trees commissioned to be planted by The Woodland Trust are grown

 

Saplings at Crawfordsburn ready to be taken away for planting in the winter

Saplings at Crawfordsburn ready to be taken away for planting in the winter

 

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Rehabilitating seal pups – with Dr Sue Wilson

For this show I have visited Dr Sue Wilson at her home in Killyleagh on the shores of Strangford Lough, a beautiful and environmenally significant inlet in Northern Ireland. If you tune into Eco Living in Action regularly, you might remember Sue from a previous show when she visited Dunedin to see our wonderful marine mammals. We visited Allans Beach where we saw sealions and fur seals.

Sue is a marine mammalogist who has specialised in seal behaviour and their ecology, with special interest in mother pup behaviour, pup devlopment and rehabilitation of orphaned pups until they are ready to be returned to the sea. Rehabilitating pups is a significant job, requiring a lot of time, commitment, compassion and determination. Each harbour seal pup requires 6-7 weeks of care, initially involving feeding 5 times a day then 4 times plus preparation time, cuddles and cleaning. All in all this is an 8 hour per day pursuit! Sue has been rehabilitating seals on an off for nearly the last 20 years and after her current 2 pups are released she will have successfully released 22 seals back into the wild.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere Sue is working with Harbour seals, also called the Common Seal in the UK. However it is no longer so common, making Sue’s vocation all the more important. In addition, as a scientist, Sue is adding to the knowledge that we have about these species and about how we can rehabilitate seals.

In this show recorded on the 10th August 2016, I talk to Sue about what she has learned and how her knowledge might help seal and sealion species in New Zealand.

To listen to this programme about Rehailitating seal pups please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=14081875-4638-4701-9bf0-9426601125ad

For more information about

This show was originally broadcast on the 18th August 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Dr Sue Wilson with one of the rehabilitated seal pups

Dr Sue Wilson with one of the rehabilitated seal pups

 

Sue's assistant F with this years two seal pups

Sue’s assistant Fleur with this years two seal pups

Community conservation in Achiote, Panama – with CEASPA

I am very excited to bring you my first radio podcast in Panama! I have arrived from the freighter, travelling through the beautiful Panama Canal and disembarking in the city of Colon, on the Caribbean side of Panama.

For this show I focus on the activities of the group CEASPA which is a community focused environmental and social development group. They have built an education centre called Centro El Tucan which also functions as a hostel, that is on the outskirts of Achiote, a small village on the edge of the San Lorenzo Protected Area – a wonderful tropical forest.

As a volunteer, I have spent two weeks at Centro El Tucan, assisting the manager Marilo Castro. She is an amazing person, volunteering here herself for one and a half years. Already she is an expert in the bird species present. There are around 400 species here, making Achiote area one of the world hot spots for bird diversity.

For this show I spoke with Daniel Holness, Executive Director of CEASPA. Daniel grew up in Panama City but spent a lot of his childhood in Achiote. I also spoke with Marilo, who is from Spain.

To listen to this programme about Achiote and CEASPA please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=6cf1de07-9e49-4402-bab4-9adca0e1f275

For more information –

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  21st January 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and is supported by Sustainable Dunedin City. The radio show Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard, a Sustainability Educator and Facilitator.

Daniel Holness, Executive Director of CEASPA

Daniel Holness, Executive Director of CEASPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marilo Castro, manager of Centro El Tucan

Marilo Castro, manager of Centro El Tucan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sinclair Wetland – with Sue Galloway

According to the QEII National Trust’s website, the Sinclair Wetland is regarded as the largest and most important privately owned wetland in New Zealand. And its right here on Dunedin’s doorstep – about 40 km south of the city on the Taieri Plains.

We are well aware that wetlands are important to the ecology of our planet. If the forests are the lungs of our planet then the wetlands are its kidney – cleansing and purifying water before it goes into our rivers and oceans. Unfortunately , wetlands are now very rare in NZ. Historic human activities such as farming and residential developments have led to the draining of around 90% of them.

How can we support conservation initiatives to protect and restore or remaining wetlands? What is particularly special about the Sinclair Wetland? How can we protect it and other Otago wetlands? And how can we go and visit Sinclair Wetland this spring!

In this programme, I chat with Sue Galloway. Sue is Trustee for Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau/Sinclair Wetlands, and is the incoming Treasurer for the Trust also.

For more information about

To listen to this programme about the Sinclair Wetlands please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=0583f22d-c8dd-48a3-b941-9149da89fa55

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  20th August 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by Sustainable Dunedin City.

View of the Sinclair Wetland

View of the Sinclair Wetland

Kids and Nature – with Claire Freeman

More people in the world now live in urban than in rural areas. In fact according to the 2001 NZ Census, 86% of people live in urban areas. From a sustainable living perspective, connecting with nature in my opinion is essential if we are to live more sustainably in the long term as a species. I think we need to see ourselves as part of nature rather than separate from it, so that we can take the necessary steps to live within the confines of our finite resources, understand and work with nature’s ecological processes, and share rather than compete with the rest of biodiversity.

The phenomenon of failing to connect with nature may not just be a problem for our earth but for us too. The term Nature Deficit Disorder was created by Dr Richard Louv to describe what he sees a as problem – that we and our children might be failing to connect with nature enough on a regular basis and this may lead to psychological and behavioural problems.

So are our urban children failing to connect with nature? Or is there actually more nature to be found in urban rather than rural areas? This show addresses the question of whether or not our children here in Dunedin are connecting with nature, and if not, how we can assist this process, so that they grow up caring about nature and our living planet.

For this show I chatted with Prof Claire Freeman from the Geography Dept in the University of Otago. Claire is co-author of a number of books research papers on the topic of urban children and how they relate to nature.

For more information –

  • Claire’s research – Higgins, H. and Freeman, C. (Editors) Childhood: Growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand, Otago University Press 2011. Also – Freeman, C. and Tranter, P. Children’s Urban Environments: Changing worlds, Earthscan. 
  • Nature Deficit Disorder – http://www.childrenandnature.org/about/ (Richard Louv). Also Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, 2013
  • Tramping activities with children – go to http://www.nztramping.com/activities/tramping-with-children/ (on DOC website)
  • Getting kids involved with nature conservation – go to Kiwi Conservation Club http://www.kcc.org.nz/,

To listen to this programme about Kids and Nature please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=243ba4be-3f3b-4cdc-b7b5-da1aba662a98

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  11th June 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and sponsored by the Dunedin City Council. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard PhD, Sustainability Educator and Facilitator.

Native bees in the garden – with Jay Iwasaki

When we think of bees we tend to think of honey bees in the hive, or perhaps our loveable bumble bees. Appreciated and valuable – they are. But they are all introduced. One of the things that I was concerned about when I started contemplating getting honeybee hives in the garden, was what kind of impact they would have on our native bee populations. Would they compete for food for example?

Are we likely to find native bees in our back gardens here in Dunedin? How are native bees faring in New Zealand? Do they play a role in pollinating our food producing plants or our garden flowers? How can we encourage them in our gardens?

In this show, I chat about Native Bees in our Gardens with Jay Iwasaki. Jay is an Ecology PhD student in the Department of Botany and Zoology at the University of Otago. He is doing his PhD on native bees in NZ to see what impact introduced honey bees are having on their population. Just the question I have been interested in!

To listen to this programme about Native Bees please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=e67a9fcd-b892-4db7-aab8-bb9c41c8438c

To find out more about

  •  Jay’s research – contact him at iwaja121@student.otago.ac.nz  
  • or you can listen to Radio New Zealand’s show about his work on Our Changing World – April 16th 2015

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  14th May 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Jay Iwasaki, PhD student at the University of Otago

Jay Iwasaki, PhD student at the University of Otago

The New Zealand native bee Leioproctus fulvesens

The New Zealand native bee Leioproctus fulvescens

Honey bee hive at one of Jay's study sites in the Remarkables.

Honey bee hive at one of Jay’s study sites in the Remarkables near Queenstown