These videos were originally available through the Grassy Box Woodlands Conservation Management Network site.
Web of Life – Biodiversity for Kids
Web of Life was awarded a Special Prize in 2002 at the prestigious Sondrio Film Festival in Italy for showing the relationship between humans and nature. Web of Life documents the diverse and rich landscapes of NSW and the importance of conserving biodiversity. It contains magnificent scenery and wildlife, interwoven with stories of culture and nature.
Woodlands in NSW
Dr Damon Oliver, an ornithologist, talks about what is a woodland, where you find them, what they look like, why they are important and some of the activities that are useful to help their survival.
About Dr Damon Oliver: As a child growing up in Adelaide, I always loved spending my time outdoors exploring our local creek and surrounding farm paddocks which are sadly now replaced by houses. After high school I studied sciences including biology at the University of Adelaide. During that time I was lucky enough to be taken under the wing by Dr David Paton who has shown hundreds of students the joys of bird watching and learning about how plants and animals interact through field-based research.
Later, I worked with David for about 5 years and spent almost every day out in the bush studying birds, bees and native plants and how they are pollinated – it was an amazing experience. I then went on to study the endangered Regent Honeyeater in the Bundarra-Barraba region west of Armidale in northern NSW for my PhD. Since 1999, I have worked for the NSW Government trying to save threatened birds in western and coastal areas in NSW. My main interests are threatened and declining woodland, mallee, grassland and coastal heath-land birds, but I also love native plants, particularly Banksias and Eremophilas.
Threatened Woodlands and Plants
Rainer Rehwinkel, a botanist, talks about conservation of endangered ecological communities and plants.
About Rainer Rehwinkel: I had the great fortune to grow up in the last street in a suburb in Canberra at the foot of Mount Ainslie. I spent the greater part of my childhood in the woodlands and dry forests on Mount Ainslie. It is here that I developed a deep love of the Australian bush and its birds and plants. When I was not bushwalking, I was off on my bike down to the lake to see what waterbirds I could find.
When I left school, I did a horticulture course, and worked as a gardener and nurseryman for several years before changing my career when, as a mature-age student, I did a university degree in wildlife and vegetation management. When I graduated, I became a plant community ecologist and have been working in this field in ACT and NSW government agencies. In my work, I have intensively studied the grasslands and woodlands of south-eastern NSW. I have surveyed many sites with these plant communities and have found populations of very rare plants and have even discovered plant species previously unknown to science. I have developed mapping techniques that have involved using images from satellites and have co-written a book on grassland plants.
I have worked with terrific people, including other scientists and people from the community, working on the conservation of plant communities. In my spare time, I still love to garden using Australian native plants and have recently travelled to Borneo several times to see rainforests and wild Orang Utans, just for something different!
Mammals of Woodlands in NSW
Dr Linda Broome, a zoologist, talks about why there are so few small woodland mammals remaining in the wild and what is being done to look after them and the other mammals that rely on woodlands for their survival.
About Dr Linda Broome: I grew up on a property in the bush in far eastern Victoria. My dad grazed sheep and cattle but he also loved wildlife and often brought animals that had been injured on the road home for us to look after. We didn’t have a TV so I spent most of my spare time outside walking or riding my horse through the bush, trying to creep up on wallabies without them seeing me, watching birds (I got my first bird book – Cayley’s ‘What Bird is That?’ – for my seventh birthday), collecting bird feathers, old nests and wildflowers. We often had birds nesting in our garden and I had tame Green and Golden Bell Frogs on my fish pond, at night they would call loudly outside my bedroom window in the pouring rain.
In my early teens I had a naturalist friend who lived at the top of the valley, called Archie May, and we would go butterfly hunting with me perched on the back of his motor bike holding the butterfly nets! I tried to do it on my horse one time but she bolted when my mum handed me the butterfly net! When I finished High School I was so excited to find out it was possible to get a University Degree in Zoology and Wildlife Management and I could get a job doing the things I loved. Later I went to America to do a PhD in Ecology and now I look after Threatened mammals including Mountain Pygmy-possums at Kosciuszko and Smoky Mice in the south-east Forests.
Frogs on Farms
Dr Dave Hunter, a herpetologist, talks about threatened frogs and reptiles that live in woodlands.
About Dr Dave Hunter: Much of my early childhood was devoted to observing and chasing wildlife wherever I found myself. I never grew out of this, and undertook a science degree at Latrobe University in Melbourne as a means of pursuing my interest as a career.
During my undergraduate degree I worked as a volunteer on threatened frog and reptile programs in Victoria and Southern New South Wales and became familiar with Kosciuszko National Park and it’s threatened frog species. I subsequently undertook a Masters and PhD in Applied Science at the University of Canberra, which began in 1997, focusing on threatened frogs in Kosciuszko National Park and adjacent areas. This then led to my current employment as a threatened species officer for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Much of my work now focuses on threatened reptiles and frogs in the agricultural landscape, where I constantly find myself inspired by the knowledge and enthusiasm of farmers for biodiversity conservation.
Dr Damon Oliver, an ornithologist, talks about threatened birds that rely on woodlands for their survival.