When I was a kid, we lived on a small dairy farm in north-west Tassie. For us kids a feature of the farm was ‘the bush’ - a small tract of relict bushland atop a hill. We loved it as a place to explore, with trees to climb, a home for the kookaburras and small forest birds, and the old farm rubbish heap that could be excavated for treasures.
I think this piece of land (admittedly far from pristine) sowed the seeds for my love of nature, bushwalking and other nature-based pursuits. It also instilled in me a desire to explore.
In due course I became a scientist. Initially, I was employed as a theoretical physicist and was far removed from the natural world. Later, I worked on modelling natural systems in various CSIRO divisions, but was still desk bound. My connection to the natural world and desire to be immersed in it nevertheless remained strong, and was certainly one of the things that kept me sane when work-based politics threatened my sanity.
However, I am concerned about diminishing biodiversity and the limited opportunities for experiencing a fully functioning natural ecosystem. This is where the Tasmanian Land Conservancy comes into the picture; with its various programs for protecting and managing key tracts of our natural landscape. As a volunteer I can help in various ways, but I wanted to somehow use my scientific skills and interests to further the TLC’s cause.
In 2018 I was persuaded by a friend and colleague to come out of retirement and work with him on a contract through CSIRO – for which I would get paid! I decided to accept this challenge, and donate my earnings to the TLC Foundation to further the TLC’s research programs. Amongst the things I like about the TLC’s approach is that its management programs are very much evidence-based, and that they encourage their research projects to be the vehicles for students’ studies to benefit a greater good.
My CSIRO contract fee became the seed for what I called the Bush Science Fund. My vision is that Bush Science funds will support students doing scientific research that furthers the overall aims of the TLC. It’s a win-win-win situation: a student gets support doing scientific research, the results of this research furthers and strengthens the evidence-based work of the TLC … and my very desk-based science has contributed, in a roundabout way!
And maybe I can feel just a bit more reassured that my grandchildren’s children will inherit a world that is in a better shape than we seem to be leaving it!
To give to the TLC Foundation through the Bush Science Fund, please click here. To select the Bush Science Fund, please click the drop down arrow beside the TLC Foundation in the ‘Transaction Details’. Your support enables the TLC to continue protecting and managing nature in Tasmania.
Banner image credit: Peter Sands