Pitfall in Mildura

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The first outcome of the project was Pitfall (An Opportunistic Cultural Survey) – premiered as a solo exhibition at Mildura Arts Centre, Victoria.

A pitfall is an unapparent source of trouble or danger; a hidden hazard: Today we all face, or will soon be facing ecological pitfalls of many kinds.

Pitfall, Mildura, 2013

‘Pitfall’ is a continually-evolving artwork built from multiple screens, a tabletop landscape mapped with projections, fibre optics, 3D spatial sound and infrared night imagery. It builds upon ideas, recordings and cross-disciplinary processes developed during my 2012-13 ANAT Synapse Art-Science residency, with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), Australia’s largest private-sector conservation organisation. See the Reintroduction project pages.

SHOWINGS:
1: Pitfall, Mildura Art Centre, 199 Cureton Ave, Mildura, Victoria, Australia, 5th Sept-27th Oct, 2013. Opening 5th September at 7pm. {Coinciding with Mildura Palimpsest Site Specific Arts Biennial, Victoria}. CatalogueFront Page Headline!

Pitfall, Mildura, 2013

RATIONALE: During that process I was invited to join and work with a team of field ecologists on a broad scale ecological survey of Kalamurina Sanctuary – a vast AWC property located in the Simpson/Tirari Deserts of central Australia. During that month we conducted ‘pitfall surveying’ – a technique utilising a network of guiding fences and pitfall tubes sunk into the ground, designed for catching both day and night mammals, reptiles and invertebrates.

As we worked together, we also undertook further ‘opportunistic surveys’ of nearby birds, plants, animals and related phenomena. So why not then also undertake ‘opportunistic cultural surveys’? Why not ask the ecologists to also record ‘data’ about the cultural changes they perceived would be necessary to avert/avoid the ecological pitfalls looming ahead? The results of these ‘opportunistic cultural surveys’ were returned in paper, image and sample to me, and the ‘numbers’ were then ‘run’ through custom artistic processes.

This led to the envisaging of a computational model that now drives the entire art work – driven by moving ‘creatures’ – each of whom embody qualities of a particular ecologist’s responses around ‘pitfall avoidance’. These ‘creatures’ are suggested by animated imagery, infrared light and 3D sound, that ‘circulates’, and sometimes ‘collides’ with a representation of a pitfall trap line.

Pitfall, Mildura, 2013

Which of these ‘mammals’ in line for a fall will have the timely mix of ‘boldness’, ‘focus’ and ‘size’ to avoid the pitfalls ahead?

FURTHER BACKGROUND: The AWC have instigated radical approaches to conservation in order to stem the rapid decline of Australian small mammals across our landscapes, with species-focused recovery programs and the use of large-scale feral proof fencing techniques. An extensive use of scientific trapping, tagging, measuring and counting processes allows the AWC to demonstrate net gains. One frequently used technique involves the use of pitfall tube traps to catch small mammals and other invertebrates.

During a ‘ground truthing’ residency in Kalamurina sanctuary (North of Lake Eyre in SA) I began to reflect upon the cultural and ecological ideas of a ‘pitfall’ – as an unapparent source of trouble or danger; a hidden hazard. Indeed our very presence out there searching for rare and endangered species suggested we had both fallen into some form of trap, and yet believed/conceived some viable ways out. I was profoundly torn between concern, hope and fear for truly exquisite species in crisis, the astonishing almost gone .. and I, we, had barely even heard of them.

This love, loss and lack inspired me to devise and conduct a playful opportunistic ‘survey’ of my own for the tightly-knit scientific team, working together for a short time at that location. As the surveys were undertaken and returned to me I then ‘ran the numbers’ through my own custom artistic processes – in order to conceive ‘Pitfall’ – an artwork which references the rich diversity of ideas contributed by this highly focused group of scientists on some very big, and very little, picture topics. Pitfall is both heartfelt and wide ranging – and yet it presents a very simple, potent message straight from the conservation ‘coal face’ for species past, present and future (including our own).

TEAM: Keith Armstrong (Artistic director), Luke Lickfold (Composition and Control Systems) and Rob Henderson (Design). Special thanks to Matt Hayward, Shauna Chadlowe, Atticus Fleming, Joe Stephens and the numerous AWC staffers who have generously contributed. Special thanks at Kalamurina go to Joss, Trish, Flic, Leah, Keith B, Rachel, Amy, Tony, Mark and Tess.

KEY PARTNERS:
Australian Network For Art and Technology Synapse Art Science Residency Program , Australian Wildlife Conservancy, QUT Creative Industries, QUT Interaction and Visual Design, MAAP Media Bank, Embodiedmedia and others tbc.

The Pitfall Exhibition

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PITFALL

Pitfall is a new media installation created in light, media, object, text and multi channel sound. It builds upon ideas and cross disciplinary processes developed during a recent ANAT Synapse Art Science residency in collaboration with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

The AWC have instigated radical approaches to conservation in order to stem the rapid decline of Australian small mammals across our landscapes, with species-focused recovery programs and the use of large-scale feral proof fencing techniques. An extensive use of scientific trapping, tagging, measuring and counting processes allows the AWC to demonstrate net gains. One frequently used technique involves the use of pitfall tube traps to catch small mammals and other invertebrates.

During a ‘ground truthing’ residency in Kalamurina sanctuary (North of Lake Eyre in SA) I began to reflect upon the cultural and ecological ideas of a ‘pitfall’ – as an unapparent source of trouble or danger; a hidden hazard. Indeed our very presence out there searching for rare and endangered species suggested we had both fallen into some form of trap, and yet believed/conceived some viable ways out. I was profoundly torn between concern, hope and fear for truly exquisite species in crisis, the astonishing almost gone .. and I, we, had barely even heard of them.

This love, loss and lack inspired me to devise and conduct a playful ‘survey’ of my own for the tightly-knit scientific team, working together for a short time at that location. I devised ‘Pitfalls, An Opportunistic Cultural Survey’. As the surveys were undertaken and returned to me I then ‘ran the numbers’ through my own custom artistic processes – in order to conceive Pitfall, an artwork which references the rich diversity of ideas contributed by this highly focused group of scientists on some very big, and very little, picture topics. Pitfall is both heartfelt and wide ranging – and yet it presents a very simple, potent message straight from the conservation ‘coal face’ for species past, present and future (including our own).

Residency 4 – Scotia NSW

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Filed under Reflections on Process, Residency 4: Scotia NSW

As the weather heats up to 40 + in the day – I find the pleasure of re-immersion into the AWC sanctuary residency process that I have been now working on over the past year – now into the last third of the 16 weeks allotted I am at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary in NSW – headquarters of the organisation in this region and long known for its exceptional successes in the fencing of feral proof very large scale areas.

Bridle Nailtailed Wallabies - no where else on this continent will you see this many

Dropping in here, two and half hours as is it is from Mildura (Which in itself seems a long way from my home town of Brisbane) its a 2.5 hour drive through the red dirt to the sanctuary gates. As with other residencies I will spend my time both with the scientists in the field (the primary modality of operation here and this time pitfall surveying again) and also continue to develop the ideas and aspirations of the residency in this rich and warmly welcoming environment.

Knob tailed gecko (Nephurus Levis) with the eyes to prove it, a morning catch

Many will know that the ANAT Synapse program aims to cement long term sustainable partnerships, and as such is less focused on specific outcomes in the here and now – being rather focused upon building trust, process and languages. Its that level of understanding through immersion and some hard, dirty, long work on the ground that brings your senses into line with the concepts and aspirations of these dedicated ecological travelers – thoroughly shifting my position from one of simply knowing through learning to acting .. a quite different register.

I catch a drive in from Mildura with project collaborator – senior scientist for the SW region Matt Hayward. Matt himself answers to the organisations’ chief scientist Sarah Legge who is based in the Kimberley and he is, in collaboration, responsible for setting the direction, goals and on ground programs for the sanctuaries I have been focusing on here in the SW- including Yookamurra, Scotia, Kalamurina and Buckaringa. Conversation ranges broadly across the many issues on the table and its an excellent opportunity to further my understanding of the focus and thrust of operations .. I report back on the objectives I had set for the residency – many of which are achieved and others of which are in process. Sat in the dining room at Scotia (with scientists, volunteers and students moving about in the afternoon’s slowly waning heat) we are able to track together through some of the software programs and processes that Matt deploys – all of which contributes to the ARC GIS database that tracks every measurable angle and aspect of this uniquely science led process.

Independently Stunning

We thumb through the metrics documents, look at probabilities and issues of measurement, and examine the successes (eg feral animal exclusion from the fenced enclosures and bridle nail-tail wallaby breeding) and a range of other objectives on the table to be met. It becomes clearer to me that the data itself records a critical story – warts and all, of what it takes to make headway in a time of extinction crises. It fascinates me as an artist how much remains unsaid in these graphs. We speak about different ways of knowing  – and how the numbers might drive an emotive, maybe even sensorial response in the trained scientist group, that would be hard to translate for the layperson  – and I wonder for someone who’d never visited these places and been surrounded by these astounding creatures and learnt these ways – how that might translate into the actions (diverse as they are) that need collectively be taken.

Art Science work has a central thread these days of promoting the place of arts’ capacity in influencing science and vice versa. There is a sense that considering an artist’ role as simply representing the ‘data’ in a more publically palatable form misses an integrative opportunity. Whilst there is no doubt in my mind that all and every strategy needs to be brought to bear upon the scenario (representations being one) – this question of placement and purpose of what we are aiming for continually backgrounds the conversation Mat and I develop. I run through my perceptions of how things appear to work and the philosophical directions – and Matt corrects, adds or augments this as a kind of positioning paper emerges. I revel in the fact that a vision here is way further than the 5 or 10 years most other organisations can muster – this place necessarily speaks to a century or two ahead .. we track over the different practical and thought strategies different people (here and of course more generally) pursue – the need of donor retention is paramount for a private organisation and those needs are of an arguably different time scale than those of the ‘ground truthing’ science team – but they come together in the always complex ground where philosophies of (a form of necessary) rationalism and conservation find dialogue. Its a trusim that different narratives appeal to different parties – but the solid intention is the line of sight here ( better kind of Australia),  languages aside, is the critical factor at days end.

And on that count we are in lockstep – artist and scientist with similar ultimate motivation. By implication then the AWCs radical direct action project is being developed  in the assumption that a profound cultural shift (leading to behaviour change in terms of land management and valuation of biological assets) will emerge in the future. This seems fertile and suggests similarly radical cultural approaches are necessary. Ecological survival depends upon cultural change underpinned by a shift in the Australian collective imaginary.  This suggests an area of cultural research  relevant to the humanities/creative industries. Arguably this is where a futrure targeted research project in new forms of cultural practice have the potential to contribute – working in the intersections between science-based action, data and public perception.This approach feasibly promises a level of understanding that, with the appropriate rigour and candour  has the capacity to shift thinking all round. We are excited and expand ideas together.

Pitfall bucket, Scotia Sanctuary, NSW

I suggest that Ecological data ‘read’ alone by the layperson, without  direct experience, typically makes much less impact on the  SENSES, and can often fail to convey the MULTI-LAYERED COMPLEXITY of ecologies under reparation. Put simply, everyone is different!  HOWEVER the data clearly does tell a very extraordinary part of the ‘story’, and thus, used in concert with other media and sensory experiences may possess enhanced power for encouraging shifts towards public action. (Initially in terms of encouraging public support but I think also more broadly that it offers a modality of thinking that translates into the much broader cultural dilemmas that would ultimately stymie  very long term visions of an ecologically sounder Australia if left unchecked).  The goal must be therefore be to enhance both cultural and biological diversity in ways that acknowledge and negotiate human psychology as well. I feel there is a place we can work together.

We begin to tease out some more concrete research questions – for example – one possibility is .. What are the inherent potentials within the current conservation DATA, in concert with the broader reflections of the science team to tell a rich, multi-sensory story about mammal conservation – with the tangible potential to encourage directive action – when re-purposed through creative practice.

The sun is setting, the temperatures hover in the low 30s and red dirt caked scientists and and managers come and go about their daily business of ground truthing ..

For me – its three days of trapping (reptiles, invertebrates and small mammals) where I join the team as an equal, albeit with less latin name skill-sets, and then to finish the week, we look forward to a visit from Mildura Gallery director Heather Lee – to allow her to cite operations here – and speak about an exhibition I will stage at her gallery to close the residency in late 2013. Positive ..

a-feral-cat-ate-my-bilbies (Global Mail Article)

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A Feral Cat Ate My Bilbies – A Radical Approach as We Daily Loose Australian Wildlife to Feral Cats and Foxes

AWC on google earth

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google tour of AWC sanctuaries

Opportunistic Cultural Survey Results

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Filed under Reflections on Process, Residency 3: Kalamurina SA, Uncategorized

As per the prior posts – After a bit of thinking how I could best stimulate some creative thinking around biodiversity and conservation that would suit the scientific team, I alighted on asking everyone to engage in an opportunistic ‘cultural survey’ using a format I designed as we workd through our scientific surveys in the desert sites each day .. playfully paralleling the\at survey work we were all doing together – it was really great that I ultimately got a series of ‘results’ and ‘evidence’ from everyone over the next few days as ppl thought it through and filled in ideas in the down times – and many of the responses were amazing and considered – in some cases several pages of thinking, and people provided drawings, photos, ideas, quotes, songs, samples (e.g. simple but clear ideas such a vial of sand (in an empty DNA container) , an ’empty’ bird survey etc).

Rare and endangered Woma Python

One lunchtime we then got back together to discuss and share our ideas – and I gave a bit of reflective analysis of what I saw coming out of the team’s ideas (as you would imagine there was a lot of synergistic thinking around the problems – but naturally we are all searching for new and better ways to deal with the cultural issues of ‘raising awareness’ generally – that we all recognised underpins long time strategies – a simple expression that when analysed becomes a minefield of human psychology, habits and perceptions – as we all well know :

Rare and endangered Mulgara - a carnivorous marsupial - an amazing catch!

For me, and I think the team judging by their responses: the AWCs programs and vision represents the ability to imagine (or is it re-imagine) a different set of human – biological relations over the long time – but we all agreed that over that long time we need to bring human culture with us somehow – so that what the AWC and others are doing right now, today, becomes a recognised essential part of what we do as a society. (a kind of ‘common sense if you will). Several people said they enjoyed the chance to think more about the deeper ‘whys’ of heir work too – which was really great. This is the kind of art-science synergy Ive been searching for – and now sits as a beginning of a series of more detailed dialogues which I will now conduct with each of the respondents – a place where I can ask the scientists to be creatives within their own contexts – and then draw them out beyond – to make the synthesis across board rather than simply my interpretation or their statement.

Desert skies - bore hole camp - under moonlight

And then I spoke about how I hoped to use the materials – or inspirations arising from them in future works in MIldura, Sydney and Melbourne and hopefully beyond. I also explained I was doing a conference presentation in Beijing next month about my experiences so far : alongside showing the earlier work ‘Finitude(Mallee:Time)) – in Chinese mega-show style the exhibition (And related academic conference) event has about 200 artists and scientists taking part – its called “Information, Ecology, Wisdom” : The 3rd Art and Science International Exhibition and Symposium, Beijing, China at the National Museum of Science and Technology. Nov1-30th 2012 .

Woma Python coming your way!

I think that the processes we shared also gave some of the scientists and vollies (all of whom were very high calibre (eg an ex leader of the Antarctic program at Macquarie Island and with a wealth of knowledge) a chance to think laterally about the biodiversity crisis and ways in which we might all think of engaging public perception and culture. Whilst there was some hesitations initially about the different ways of phrasing questions in the creative research process, everyone got it really well!

Back in ADL now en route to Brisbane.. Twas a brilliant trip at AWC Kalamurina – long days – lots of holes dug! Great people – brilliant skies – and finally, after a billion long haired rats had filled our traps – the single Mulgara of the trip appeared in our trap 1 on the last morning of the last day! Keith B (K1), our nortmally reserved group team leader that day was beaming! – and then, to top it, another scientist caught an endangered Woma Python too which i understand is a rare find! – celebrations all round !

Bearded dragon risks clouds of black kites and wedgetails for an afternoon nao

Owl Pellets

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Today an amazing collection was being disassembled – the contents of regurgitated owl pellets who are growing fat on the multitudinous long haired rats here who have bred up after recent good times – With ideas now starting to build around the survey referred to in the last piece and some clear forms for work emerging – the stunning nature of the remains took me a back a little under lens – I sent them off to my collaborator scientist Matt Hayward in Mildura who then gave me permission to take some remains back to brisbane for doing more work on in the studio – I think the potential nature of the investigation had visual resonance for us both.

Long Haired rat - skull remains retrieved from regurgitated barn owl pellet

Art-Science Dialogues @ AWC Kalamurina..

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Building on the last post, it reminds me of asking my son what he did at school today – the conversation doesn’t start well there – it starts more richly over shared activity – sitting in the 4WD on the way back from a survey, as we are digging in a pit fall trap, over coffee (needing a few with the 4.45am starts).. a chance to speak a little about my own research perspectives and ways of doing things – as a means for understanding crossovers and permeations.

NB – with our eye on the sources of crashing biodiversity here ., the pics are all of feral animals caught on ‘camera traps’ mostly in infra red light – we have about 50 cameras on site I think .. (some beauties – see the dingo with the feral cat in its mouth) – All these images are by courtesy of AWC Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary station manager Mark McClaren.

Dingo secures the scourge of Australia, the feral cat .. Image Kalamurina Station Manager, Mark McClaren

Over time I begin to think about the processes we have been going through – and with a fully bonded team working together closely – we all get a pretty good sense of each other – that’s something that works so well out here – there is a low key sense of each others space, a shared respect due to lots of proximity and the fact that we are all so remote and therefore absolutely co-dependent.

Slowly I begin to see the culture of the surveying that is underway – the population sampling – particularly in this case of the long haired (or plague) rat (which is in gross abundance throughout every kind of environment – riverine, far from water, gibber, dry shrubland – everywhere you look there are the burrows – feet collapsing into the dunes due to their runways).

This was once your house cat?, now living in the Simpson.. Image AWC Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary, Mark McClaren

I go back to my original question – the purpose of the whole project ..

“Whilst AWC is taking a clear, national leadership role in helping to stop and reverse this tide of extinctions the problems we face are both ‘cultural’ as well as ‘technical’. To effect long term change we need to foment a cultural shift in thinking to recognise the threats facing us and provide impetus to effectively action them. Arguably, the possibility for such fundamental change lies in the hybrid space between science and culture, and so it is here, through this new interdisciplinary collaboration, that as scientists and artists we will work together towards achieving these common interests.”

This leads me to imagine asking a team of researchers to undertake an ‘opportunistic cultural survey’ at a time and place that suits them (everyone is busy – its important I respect this and dont slow their processes) – and so – just as we do opportunistic bird or vegetation surveys (or Mulgara scats, rats droppings, dingo turds, hair, DNA) as we go through the pitfall trapping processes – why not therefore opportunistic cultural surveys?

White Dingo Male, AWC Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary, Station Manager, Mark McClaren

And so – having re-introduced the (Re-introduction) project one evening in our regular gatherings after dinner .. I deliver a targeted artist talk to give everyone some perspective on where I’m coming for. And having explained the purpose again the survey is handed out .. with a significant pre-amble so everyone is clear of who I am, what the purpose is and the ethics of the survey , with particular note to the anonymisation of the data.

And so everything here is involved with the catch, the trap, the recording of very particular characteristics (ie for rats weight, PES (foot length), sex, DNA (ear sample)) or for insects simply numbers (beetles, bugs, scutigera, scorpions ..): so my thinking was to design a survey about failing to be trapped – starting loosely with all the things that can go wrong with a pitfall line (fence too high/broken, traps not camoflaged etc – also playing with all the ideas, things and processes that bind us on a daily basis – as, I explain, as a means for trying to get us to each speak about what we might not easily be able to say – to extract parts of the unspoken from a vast databank of ecological relational knowledge that literally hums in these teams!

So I choose a cultural pitfall (coming ahead – that we need to avoid) that everyone can understand: “Crashing Biodiversity”.

The survey pre-amble/design states ..

Thank you for participating in the ‘Pitfall-Pre-emption’ trapping survey. This survey is phase 1 of the ‘Re-Introduction’ Project (2012-13) – a year long art-science project instigated by Keith Armstrong in collaboration with Matt Hayward and the AWC. and supported by the Australian Network for Art and Technology and the Australia Council For the Arts.

The project aims to build long term partnerships between ecological science and the arts in the joint pursuit of sustainable and sustaining futures. Ideas will be developed collaboratively during 16 weeks of active on the ground volunteer service across multiple AWC properties. During this time I will undertake on the ground research to later design powerful new ‘images’ (in the form of experimental publically exhibited artworks) that stimulate thinking and action around sustaining futures.

and continues..

WHY PITFALLS?
A pitfall is an unapparent source of trouble or danger; a hidden hazard: Today we all face, or will soon be facing ecological pitfalls of many kinds: Crashing biodiversity is just one.
This ‘opportunistic survey’ is about pre-empting these pitfalls ahead and considering diverse strategies for avoiding them. Your task as a survey team member is to playfully record your thoughts on this ‘pitfall pre-emption and avoidance’.

WHY?
The AWC’s practical on the ground, science-based conservation strategy is a remarkable, ambitious example of doing what needs to be done in the face of this crisis.
The ecological problems we face today are mostly human-created. Therefore, ecological problems require both scientific AND cultural solutions. What happens here (in thought and action) at the AWC could therefore have much to teach others.

YOUR INPUT?
The pitfall pre-emption ‘survey’ records snippets from your storehouse of scientific and cultural knowledge in ways that are playful, open and relatively free of constraints – but ultimately directed to our common purpose.

SO ..
Please fill in your ‘opportunistic cultural survey’ – at a time (or times) you choose here at Kala. In order to draw upon what you know but cant necessarily ‘say’ you are licenced re-interpret the questions. Move beyond the literal wherever you feel comfortable. No answer/response is right or wrong, good or bad – and the outcomes may be wonderfully unpredictable. NB If you work separately then we may well get a broader spread of data.

HOW?
For this first survey the declared ecological pitfall is “Crashing Biodiversity “

Further responsive surveys may be announced before we leave .
For the ‘survey period’ you will record your mood, and then your ideas and thoughts around avoiding being ‘trapped’ by this pitfall.

Feral cat caught on night camera trap: Foxes, cats, weeds, herbivores - crashing biodiversity incarnate, Image AWC Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary, Manager Mark McClaren

Getting Into the Process

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Filed under Reflections on Process, Residency 3: Kalamurina SA, Uncategorized

With the AWC I describe my role as embedded – by which I mean – I am here as a working team member as well as artist – I now have an expanding range of animal, insect and lizard handling, trapping and general building skills and camera trapping skills – which like any other crew member Im expected to use. In essence there is a survey to do and everyone who comes out to this remote spot is crew – this being the third year I believe that they have spent trying to determine what moves through this extraordinarily large property (1.6 million acres) :

I join teams each day – leaving before dawn to go out and check the traps that have been set (to pick up the creatures of the night – premominantly this season the long haired rat and a range of insects and geckos. My roles have included emptying the pitfall traps (tubes in the ground at the end of long fence runs – into which the animals and insects and lizards fall to be picked up checked, recored and released). We also trap in funnel traps – which landed us a decent sized snake – and we also check for mammals in elliot and cage traps. We do the same in the evening to pick up creatures of the day – in this case predominantly lizards and insects – these have been in diverse country including dunes, claypans, gibber plains and riverine woodlands. We work in three day rotations – which include the setting up of the sites – requiring digging, building and so forth – all team work – often in the heat of the day (its moved between 20 degres and 38 with clear skies, dust storms and lightning strikes since arrival .. ) ts hard work at times – but most often a lot of time is spent in the 4WD trips to get places – as the country is rugged and the roads are in many places really more rough tracks.

What this all creates is a very close culture – a tight community of scientists and researchers and the station managers – all working together to ensure logistics and data get collected. Each night the database is filled with the information from the days sheets – there are things as diverse as lizard lengths, mammal foot sizes, bird surveys, vegetation surveys, numbers of insects (beetles/bugs/scutigera, millipedes … caught in the pitfalls). Dingoes patrol the night and the morning and camera traps also reveal feral cats and foxes as well as the rabbit. All have to be controlled.

And all along the way I get chance to talk to everyone and progressively learn more about the cultures of ecological science – how people think their way through problems, why they make the decisions they do, what and where their sense of the big picture is: where the pervasive culture of observance, measurement, counting, careful scanning the landscape, observation and process (setup, establish, packdown move on) fits into their own philosophical positions.

Tasks ahead

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Now safely camped on the sand dunes – in tent not swag as Dingoes and Long Haired Rats call regularly here – the air is filled with kites, kestrels and eagles – the country looks good – exceptional rains.

Nothing on this arvo after a mornings work washing down cars and unpacking – so time to think about the kind of questions, provocations, idea sessions and image mqking that might be possible with a really lovely group of dedicated people .. but flat out probably from now on in –

bait balls made, cars washed down, tyres let down to attack the dune swales, pitfall traps, cages, fences and nets onboard, GPS primed and camera traps powered up!