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Playing Flight of Pollen on the Court

In Term 3, we played the outdoor version of Flight of Pollen, on the court, at St Anne’s School, Manurewa.
Pollinators collected pollen and transported it to hula-hoop flowers; pollen crawled through one hoop, then another, to the base of the flower; ripening time was spent playing touch-tag; and then pollinators became berry eaters and seed blowers. The winning team, DAY / NIGHT, collected the most seeds & berries.
WILD!
From there we went indoors, and played a truncated boardgame. Which game was best – indoor or outdoor? Opinion among the students was roughly divided in half.
Both versions were ‘nearly’ as good as Cloak of Protection. Which was high praise indeed – they’re mad about my first game, and play it at every opportunity!!

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one find of moa poo

Stout legged moa
found in a cave in Nelson is thought to be 8000 years old.

In Flight of Pollen, fresh native pollen is carried from plant-to-plant. But in new research, it’s evidence of which plants were eaten, way back thousands of years ago!

Scientists analysed the pollen in fossilised moa poo and in fresh deer poo, from Daley’s Flat, Dart River Valley, West Otago.

It’s thought four species of moa lived where the samples were found, three of which can be found in Cloak of Protection: the bush moa; the heavy-footed moa – described as a “40-gallon drum walking on toddler’s gumboots”; the upland moa; and the South Island giant moa.

The pollen, thousands of years old, and still remaining in the dried poo, indicates that each of these species grazed on different plant types within the area.

The pollen also shows that plants that were present when moa roamed the country are now pretty much absent – due to the introduction of deer.

Deer are not like moa. Research by Jamie Wood and Janet Wilmshurst, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

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Small things matter

Ti kouka / cabbage tree
and small things tend to get overlooked. Insects, spiders, and crustaceans get very little attention, yet they make up half of the world’s animal biomass

Insects are part of the web of life. They feed birds and fish and small creatures, and they pollinate our forests and our food.

Small things, miss them when they’re gone. . .

. . . due to farming and cities; pesticides and fertilizers; and invasive species.

It’s us. Which means we can do something. Start by planting a garden. Start by looking after soil health. And there they’ll be.

In Flight of Pollen ti kouka / cabbage tree (shown) is pollinated by hoverfly, native bee, honey bee, moth, gecko, bat, koromiko, and tui. They’ll all come quickly for its feast of nectar!

for more details go to:Truthout

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Culling invasive species on islands worldwide

could save nearly 10% of the world’s bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile species currently on the brink of extinction.

So the Guardian reported on research published in the journal Plos One.

Recently I saw this for myself on Kapiti Island, which – thanks to volunteers who criss-crossed the island with traps, and to the ongoing surveillance of DOC – has been predator-free since 1998. Only one pregnant ferret has disturbed the peace since then!

Kākā watched us from trees above, kōkako sang, weka dug in the undergrowth, the lone takahē hid from sight, hihi flitted by, and we found empty kiwi holes…

“This is about as cost-effective, high-impact species extinction prevention spending as one can find – as close as we can get to a silver bullet. . .People are often surprised at just how successful and doable these projects are . ..” said Jonathan Hall, the RSPB’s head of UK overseas territories.

With the predators in Cloak of Protection removed, wildlife is flourishing. To celebrate this, dolphins frolicked in the marine reserve, and beside our boat, both ways.

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Otari Event 12th and 13th March 2019

Arihia, from Enviroschools Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui- Greater Wellington
organised by Enviroschools Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui- Greater Wellington, included an outdoor pollination game.

Arihia (pictured) worked on a version, based on Flight of Pollen. With the able assistance of the Otari School Bush Guides, over the two days, and with students from 8 schools, we played it a total of 14 times.

Showing great persistence, the Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui Facilitors, have been working (with me), on a LARP (Live Action Role Play) version of the game, for quite a while.

We played at Otari Wiltons Bush, on the Troup lawn. Surrounding the lawn is a botannical ‘zoo’ containing the forest that once covered much of Wellington. Only one percent of native forest remains on the Wellington peninsula.
and half of that surrounded us(!)

While we ‘pollinated’ on the lawn, flying insects checked us out. And, as part of the event, students also saw pollen and gecko skin under microscope.

Feedback from students and teachers: ‘ I didn’t know that pollinators had to work so hard!’, ‘fun’, ‘exciting’, and ‘let’s play it back at school’

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Rivers as barriers

RATS in Cloak of Protection
even quite small rivers are an effective barrier to possum migration. So found ZIP (Zero Invasive Predators), in 2017, when they ran a trial in Remutaka Forest Park.

Last year, a similar trial began in the Perth River valley, to measure whether or not larger rivers are also an effective barrier to the migration of rats.

By 19 February 2019, after more than seven months of continuous bio-marking and trapping, confidence has grown. Trials were run across winter (where the river levels are lowest; the water is at its coldest; and rat breeding and dispersal activity is low), and across spring/summer (when the river levels rise as snow and ice melts; and rat breeding and movement increases).

“We are very encouraged by this promising result!” say the team.

Maybe, just maybe, some rats don’t like getting their feet wet!?

More information at Zero Invasive Predators Assessing the Perth River (and Scone Creek) as a barrier to rats

In Cloak of Protection, there are three rats: kiore; Norway; and Ship (shown).

Making Flight of Pollen we learnt that the endangered sort-tailed bat / pekapeka (which is a phenomenal pollinator), has had much of its role in our Native bush, taken over by the Ship rat – when the rat doesn’t eat everything in sight ie the whole flower (of course)!

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We had bumblebees

Bumble bee (top right)
living in our Isilkul apartment, back in the 1960s, writes V. S. Grebennikov in My World. There he often observed the following. . .

. . .A young bumblebee on its first trip away from the hive did not take the trouble to remember the entrance and would spend hours wandering around the windows of our house and of a similar-looking house nearby.

And in the evening, giving up on its poor visual memory, it would land on the brick wall, precisely outside the hive and would try to break right through it. How did the insect know that right there, four metres away from the entrance, and a metre and a half below, behind the thick, half-metre wall was its home nest?

Based on the structure of bee nests, I created a few dozen artificial honeycombs – of plastic, paper, metal, and wood. It turned out that the cause of all those unusual sensations was not a biological field, but the size, shape, number, and the arrangement of caverns formed by any solid objects.

I called the discovery the Cavernous Structures Effect (CSE). . .and the CSE cannot be shielded – it affects living organisms through walls, thick metal, and other screens. It does not decrease evenly with distance, but surrounds the honeycomb with a system of invisible, yet sometimes clearly perceivable “shells”.

Even clocks – both mechanical and electronic-placed in a strong CSE field start running inaccurately – time must also have a part in it. Back in the 20s the French physicist Louis des Broglie was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of these waves, and they were used in electronic microscopes.

This, and more, at http://www.keelynet.com/greb/greb.htm

The bumblebee is an important pollinator in Flight of Pollen. She gets up and gets going early, flies in the wind, and can sleep outdoors overnight. . .

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a stoat hunt is underway

as Auckland Council and DOC rally their teams on Great Barrier Island/Aotea. A potential sighting has set off alarm bells and sparked an immediate incursion response.

DOC Operations Manager George Taylor said, “with the speed stoats can cover the ground, it is vital to get on their trail as early as possible.

“Getting a positive indication of stoat presence from the dog is the fastest way for us to know if we have a problem and to start planning how to deal with it.”

Great Barrier Island, which was considered free of stoats, has significant populations of endangered birds that would be easy prey.

Stoats travel far and fast. One young female tagged in the Egglington Valley on 20 December 1990 was killtrapped at Burwood Bush, 65 km away, on January 1991.

In Cloak of Protection, the stoat is a devastating predator – making giant holes in the strongest of Cloaks!

Date: 10 January 2019
Source: Auckland City Council

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Putting bees and honeysuckle

on eco bags seemed like a good idea for Christmas /Summer Solstice presents

It’s all part of our environmental focus, and our education in sustainable choices.

The bees – native black, honey, and bumble – visit the flowers in Flight of Pollen and it’s a joy to see them out (along with the hoverfly) visiting flowers this summer. I learnt so much / observe with new eyes since creating this game.

It’s also a joy to be carrying them on a tote bag into the supermarket!!