ISPENT MANY a Saturday morning shivering on the sideline at Browns Field in Sydney’s north, watching my children play soccer. It always seemed a few degrees colder down there in the valley and an occasional veil of mist hovered above the oval, obscuring the far goal post.
I discovered later that the sportsground sits in a maar-diatreme – a crater, usually 200-300m in diameter, left behind by a series of volcanic explosions interacting with groundwater. Diatremes, along with the more familiar cone-shaped volcanic mounts, reveal something of the dynamic forces that have shaped the landscapes in which we live, and it’s amazing how many there are if you know where to look.We can claim a globally significant volcanic hotspot in south-western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. Jeremy Bourke and Don Fuchs went looking for evidence of the region’s violent past and discovered a landscape teeming with volcanic remnants and one alive to the possibility of future eruptions (page 52).
We can also claim many significant shorebird breeding sites around our coast.They’re an integral part of the
East Asian-Australasian flyway – the routes taken by migrating birds flying annually from the north to the south of the globe. In our first collaboration with ABC Radio National, we follow the plight of these little endurance flyers as they face unprecedented threats to their vital landing and feeding sites throughout Australia and Asia (page 64).
Our globetrotting documentary filmmakers Caroline Pemberton and Dean Miller have been meeting conservationists working to save endangered species in beautiful Kenya. Their documentary is now available on our website and Dean’s report can be found on page 110. It will be screened on Channel Nine in coming months, so stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for details.
Talking of extraordinary conservation efforts, it’s been 10 years since Earth Hour was launched.What started as an Aussie grassroots environmental initiative is today a global phenomenon. Much progress has been made in that time, but there’s still so much to be done; don’t forget to switch off your lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm (local time) on Saturday 25 March.
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