Thursday, 16 August 2018

On The Trail: hanging clubmoss, a curious epiphyte

Here's a beauty to look out for on the tramping trail. In the forest it grows as an epiphyte (it's a plant that grows on trees) and in our mixed podocarp/broadleaf forests can sometimes be seen at eye-level. That's perfect for spotting while walking along!

Hanging club moss in forest near Paraparaumu
It's common name is hanging clubmoss, although it isn't a moss but rather a plant with an ancient lineage that is more like a fern. According to iNaturalistNZ its Māori name is iwituna and the "Field Guide to New Zealand's Epiphytes, Vines & Mistletoes" gives another Māori name, Whiri o Raukatauri. Its current scientific name is Phlegmarius varius but that's already changed once since I learned about it a few years ago!

Look closely and you'll notice something quite amazing. They sprout out all straggly to start with ..

Friday, 3 August 2018

The Nature Bookshelf - what I'm reading

Location is a key element of most nature writing. Terrain and climate determine the plants and animals that live there. Place plays a role, too, in how people experience and interact with nature.

Some places are universal 'hot' topics - the polar regions, Galapagos Islands, Himalayan mountains. Others will only ever attract a smaller, domestic readership. Yet these works record a place, time, and depict nature in ways that other media cannot. These local books deserve a wide readership, but sadly I think in New Zealand this readership is diminishing. Fewer people seem to know what local books are available or where to buy them, turning to Amazon or Book Depository for their reading material, rather than local outlets such as publishers' websites or bookshops. Some books remain in print such a short time that I have to resort to borrowing from the library or haunting second-hand bookshops to search them out.

Here's a few local books I've been reading, both deserve to be better known.

Tales from Abel Tasman National Park
 The obscure title People Came Later doesn't do justice to this delightful book about the Abel Tasman National Park by Perrine Moncrieff. Years before the National Park was formed Perrine and her family built a bach in a bay across from Adele Island. The chapters range from amusing anecdotes about people and boats, through to more serious topics such as the arrival of stoats and the demise of the penguin population.

Perrine was a mover and shaker. She was instrumental in saving forest from being logged and birds from being indiscriminately shot. She campaigned for the formation of Abel Tasman National Park. Shortly after I'd finished reading it, I was lucky enough to be taken to Adele Island and could see for myself the places that she wrote about. It's very different now, the few seals on the island were far outnumbered by the kayakers and tour boats.

I had to source this book from the library as it is long out of

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Nature Journals - getting started

Creating a Nature Journal is a great way to deepen your nature connection. Whether you want to record what you see on a nature walk, celebrate nature's beauty, or keep track of what you've learned about nature - there's a nature journal format to suit your purpose. If you look on Pinterest at other people's Nature Journals you might think Nature Journals are just for artists, but your observations are unique and can be conveyed in words as well as pictures.
Some of my Nature Journals
A Nature Diary is a good way to get started writing a Nature Journal. That's how I began. I wrote down places I went walking or tramping, and listed things I saw that interested me. After awhile, I began adding in more details, names of plants I was learning from other people or facts I'd found in reference books.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Create Your Own Nature Journal - for children

Creating a Nature Journal about a walk or trip is a great way to share your memories about the place you visited. You can use a bought notebook or make your own booklet (see how below).
Observing nature on holiday
Take your Nature Journal with you to make notes or draw sketches and then finish it when you get home. Use drawings or photos to illustrate what you saw.
Four pages recording a West Coast walk in autumn
Tips for what to write and draw