Tag Archives: conservation

Seek and you may find………..

I went seeking the light today. Truly, literally! It was a grey, blank-canvas sky day; a neither here nor there day; not cold, not warm, not raining but not especially dry either. A nothing sort of day. So, I put on my cheerful face and went to look for the light; actually lights, in the city, which are to form part of a public art exhibition called ‘Solidarity Grid’ http://www.scapepublicart.org.nz/.  Now, search as I might, I couldn’t find them, for a very simple reason, which hit me like a blinding flash; the exhibition isn’t open until 27 September, 5 days hence! 🙂

Determined not to make my drive to the city a complete waste of time, I drove in to the Botanic Gardens car park for some visual refreshment. And there, right before my eyes, I  suddenly saw  the very thing I had been wanting to visit, to find out about,  for months.  Can you see it?

Can you see what I see?

Can you see what I see?

Take a closer look….

What is it? A bird cage? A Tardis?

What is it? A bird-cage? A Tardis?

Looks like a home for a  large bird, or, maybe, a sculptural rendition of a modern-day Tardis,  come to rest in the midst of the pines of Christchurch. Strange things happen here these days, but, perhaps not quite that strange. Let’s cross the river for a proper look.

River Crossing

River Crossing

On we go, past the kowhai and blossom, along the path,

until we have our destination in sight.

Destination in view

Destination in view

Nearly there; getting closer…

Closer.....

Closer…..

until here we are, the closest we can get to ……

THE WOLLEMI PINE.

Closest....

Closest….

The Wollemi Pine is New Zealand’s first dinosaur plant. It is a relic pine with a 200 million year old history and is one of the oldest and rarest trees in the world. It  was thought to be extinct until its discovery in the Blue Mountains of Australia in 1994. There are less than 100 adult trees known to exist in the wild. This little Wollemi pine was grown by tissue culture,

in Christchurch, and planted in our Botanic Gardens to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gardens’ establishment.  It is the  cornerstone of an area in the Gardens which will be known as the Gondwana Garden http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/avenues/features/8474759/The-botanic-gardens-guardian

“Wollemi” is an Aboriginal word meaning “Watch out and look around you”.  I am very glad I did today. I may have missed the lights I was originally  looking for, but I feel that I found another type of light or, perhaps, enlightenment, of equal brilliance. And, in a funny, odd way, strange as I thought it might be when I mentioned it earlier, I did find a Tardis; a Tardis in a tree.

The Wollemi Pine http://www.wollemipine.com/index.php project which is dedicated to the preservation of the Wollemi Pine has Wollemi Pines centres all over the world. There may be a Wollemi Pine near you. Check it out on their website 🙂

So, with a final look around me, I went down the path, across the bridge and home to tea.

© silkannthreades

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What do Eels think of us?

File:NZ eel.jpg

According to Wiki, this is a photo of the New Zealand Longfin Eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii). It is our only endemic freshwater eel.

Their amazing life story can be read on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_longfin_eel and http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/fish/facts/eel/

The female of the species can live up to 100 years, and sometimes longer.  She breeds only once, at the end of her lifecycle, and to do this she migrates from her freshwater New Zealand home to Tonga, in the tropical Pacific 5000 kilometres away. She dies after spawning so only her offspring find their way back to New Zealand.

I have seen longfin eels at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. As far as I am concerned, their appearance leaves a lot to be desired in the cute and cuddly stakes. I daresay these remarkable creatures would say the same about me. And what they would say about my inability to find my way to Tonga without a map or plane or boat, plus supporting crew, doesn’t bear thinking about.

A few days ago, some of the eels had more reason than ever to wonder about human incompetence and stupidity. According to our daily newspaper, a couple of young men, feeling bored and wanting some easy entertainment, purportedly broke in to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and killed at least two and possibly more of the longfin eels. The eels were about 70 years old.

A great many sad things happened in the world last week but, for me the untimely and undignified deaths of these precious eels was the saddest happening of all.  Sad for the young men, sad for our community but, most of all, sad for the eels. Imagine, if they were 70 years old, they made their way to New Zealand when the Pacific was embroiled in World War 2. They defied the odds to live at all. Yet live and thrive they did, in peace and harmony in a less than perfect, person-messed, environment, until a moment of  thoughtless idleness ended their magnificence.