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Showing posts from September, 2020


Bird Alert!

  Video by Birds of the Huon Did you know that September 16 th was Plover Appreciation Day ?  I didn’t either.   Australia has two different species of its own - The Hooded Plover and the Red - capped Plover and around twelve migratory ones.   Many of them are highly threatened because they like the same places that humans do - parks, beaches and playing fields, and prefer to lay their eggs on the ground. Some plovers will have just returned from as far away as Siberia and all are now laying eggs and raising chicks so it’s a good time to stay away from them. Tasmania’s Plovers or more correctly Masked Lapwings or Spur -Winged Plovers (officially Vanellus miles ) are renowned for swooping at this time of year. Our plovers which for some reason always remind me of accountants with their white shirts, neat little black hats and their busy purposeful demeanour,   will not only swoop to   keep you away from their young, but also do a lot of shrieking.   Despite that, they seldom st

Suicide Prevention – Australia and R U OK Day

Australia has had a National Suicide Prevention Strategy since 2017. In 2018, 3128 people lost their lives to suicide and another 65,000 attempted to end their lives, making it a serious health concern, especially as the rate has continued to increase. It remains the leading cause of death among young Australians between 12 – 25 and several other groups are also over -represented such as men of working age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and members of the LGBTI community. The latest plan for the the next five years (2020 -2025) aims high.   It hopes that “With the right systems in place and support easily accessible, no Australian in suicidal distress should see suicide as their only option.”  As with other national strategies around the world, there are proposals for programs and interventions to increase resilience, to increase awareness and well -being, to reduce stigma and bullying, to promote social cohesion and specific programs for at risk groups. I

Suicide - A preventable tragedy? – 1 International Perspectives on Suicide Prevention

  How to know if friends or workmates need help It was World Suicide Prevention Day last Wednesday and Australia’s R U OK Day (Are you OK?). These reflect an important and growing problem.   According to the World Health Organisation , around 800,000 people took their own lives in 2016 and for every suicide at least 20 other people attempted to do so.   Globally, it is the second leading cause of death among 15 – 29 year olds and the leading cause of death of young people in Australia. While suicide rates tend to be higher in poorer countries,wealthier countries such as Australia, Scandinavia, France and the USA had the second highest rates and higher rates than say, Mexico, Brazil or China. These events don’t just affect the immediate family, but also their co -workers, their communities, the first responders   and so on, and if the work coming out of India is any guide, things will most likely get worse in the wake of COVID 19, as people experience job losses, eco

Move over Teddies, the Scarecrows are coming (not that we don’t love teddies)

Beautiful Scarecrow Wattle Queen, Hurstbridge, Victoria -Photo courtesy of Sabi Buehler I thought we needed something cheerful today, especially for those people still in lockdown, which includes a lot of friends in Victoria. At Hurstbridge where my sister lives, they normally have a spring Wattle Festival at this time of year but because level 4 lockdown rules still apply, they have gone virtual and local people have turned their talents to making a Merrymakers Scarecrow Village which attracted 150 entries.Although organisers have asked for them to be taken down this week out of respect for the environment, you can still catch them here . Nor are they alone.  Ready to brighten someone's day and may or may not scare the birds -Photo courtesy of Sabi Buehler Many UK communities have scarecrow festivals too and the village of Kilkhampton in Cornwall is host to around 150 of them. The USA also produces large crops of scarecrows, especially around Halloween and

Eat those Weeds

Chickweed - Stellaria media tastes pleasant and green but has twice the iron of spinach, plus Vitamins A and C Don’t toss those weeds unless it’s into a salad! I’ve just come across a really interesting story about a man in North West Tasmania, Bruce French , who has been collecting data on the nutritional aspects of weeds in many countries with the aim of “helping the hungry to feed themselves.” While the main purpose of Bruce’s work and the organisation he works with has been to catalogue information about traditional sources of food in poorer countries and to examine their nutritional value, it also has lessons for people in wealthy countries.   As he said in his Henry Somerset Reserve Lecture* “What we have been busily, and I think unwisely doing over recent years, is reducing the range of plants that we grow and use as food. I think it leads to poor diets, poor ecology and unsustainable agriculture. The tide is turning fairly fast and instead of filling up bellies with