Freelance Science Writer & Editor

The cool shade of trees

An occasional blog about plants, people and landscape.

Explore. Climb. Knit. The secrets of good science writing with Jo Chandler

12-Mar-2018

If you want to be a great science writer, you’ve got to explore. Then you need to put a fence around it and etch out your landscape. Yes, you need character. You’ve got to nail it, you’ve got to knit it, you’ve got to kill your darlings and drown your kittens. But most of all, you’ve got to be brave enough to climb the ladder. All the time remembering that, hey, it’s not about you.  More>>

Peak chlorophyll

07-Sep-2017

It’s the Nyoongar season of Djilba in the south-west just now, a time of transition between the cold rain and blustering wind of Makuru (June–July) and the wildflower season of Kambarang (September–October). Some early bloomers have already bolted: the candy-cane pink of Geraldton wax (Chamelaucium uncinatum) and sunlight yellow of acacias festoon the banked earth along the edges of the freeway, the sheer exuberance of their display enough to bewitch even the most surly of commuters.  More>>

On banksia woodlands and physics envy

26-Jun-2017

[‘Ecosystem’] is not more complex than we think; it is more complex than we can think.” Frank Egler, 1986.

Ecology isn’t rocket science — it’s much harder. Stephen Carpenter, 2002.

In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, several prominent ecologists grappled with ‘physics envy’. The twentieth century had seen great progress in the fields of physics, chemistry and genetics. Ecology, they feared, just wasn’t keeping up, despite the adoption of the rigorous experimental methods used in these fields. More>>

If the Kardashians were endangered plants (Part 2)

05-Jun-2017

In this, the second post on my thought-experiment on which species the Kardashians would be if they were endangered plants, I turn my attention to the Kardashian brother, the Jenner sisters and Caitlyn Jenner. And in this episode, they’re all Australian endangered species. More>>

If the Kardashians were endangered plants (Part 1)

23-May-2017

In the first few months of 2017, the media reported on two species that had been ‘rediscovered’ in parts of Australia where they had not been seen for decades. The first species was thought to have been extinct for two centuries, so finding it again on the south-west fringe of the nation’s largest city was indeed momentous. Yet the discovery was kept from the media for some months until an infrastructure project slated for the site gained federal approval. The modest media coverage that followed focussed as much on allegations of government staff being told to “keep it quiet” until the project was approved as it did on how excited scientists were to find a species thought long-extinct.  More>>

The cool shade of trees

08-May-2017

The walking is slow. Every fallen twig and feather provides a distraction from sustained momentum forward. Three-year old legs move at their own pace, unhurried by cares about the UV index or getting home to get the dinner on. It is late afternoon, but the air is hot, heavy and still. The sun’s stare remains fierce and there’s been no sea breeze to take the edge off. We are headed for the deep spaces under a row of eucalypts. I take my son’s hand and, with purpose now, we step into their cool shade.    More>>

The age of last chances

22-Mar-2017

I was at a gathering of school mums the other night and, in somewhat of a surprise to me, the topic of coral bleaching came up.    More>>

Filled with hope and possibilities: the art of Vanessa Liebenberg

02-Feb-2017

It all begins with burning the wood.

Vanessa Liebenberg loves this phase of developing a new work. “I love wood, the feel of it, the ‘organic-ness’ of it, and when I’m burning into it it’s just got a beautiful look. I find the whole process really meditative. I can do that for hours.”  More>>

A tribe for the uncharismatic

14-Dec-2016

On 30 May 2014, a small brown lizard died alone in her cage on a remote island.  The island was often in the news around this time but the media’s attention lay elsewhere, focussed on the detention of people rather than on this seemingly unremarkable lizard.  Yet Gump, as this lizard was known, was in all likelihood the last Christmas Island forest skink. Her death heralded the extinction of her species. Five years earlier, the last Christmas Island pipistrelle, a tiny brown bat with a squashed-up face and black mustard seeds for eyes, also died a mostly unmourned death.    More>>

Possum magic? Children's books and our affinity with Australian species

12-Nov-2016

Australian children’s book have a deep tradition of embracing local plants and animals. Could this make Australian kids more likely to care about the conservation of our native flora and fauna?    More>>


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Science Writer and Editor Perth Australia
Viki Cramer   PhD BSc
Freelance science writer specialising in ecology and the environment.
Ecologist - Science Communicator - Editor
Perth, Australia
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© Viki Cramer 2018
E: viki@vikicramer.com.au
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