Life in a Hollow
written by David Gullan & illustrated by Suzanne Houghton
Reviewed by Iris (age 8)
Have you ever wondered about how animals find their homes? If so, this is definitely the book for you! Life in a Hollow follows the story of a tree hollow and its residents. We learn how tree hollows are formed and how different animals make one tree hollow their home over time. The book has beautiful illustrations that give us a sense of the diversity of the Aussie bush. It also has a glossary so you can learn facts about the animals in the story.
Nature’s hidden talents
Hungry fungi eats plastic?!
Researchers in Sydney have discovered that two types of mould fungi usually found in plants and soil can be used with ultraviolet rays or heat to degrade (break down) small samples of polypropylene.
Record-breaking animals & our planet’s future
Toads vs Frogs
A park ranger in Queensland recently came across “Toadzilla” – a 2.7kg cane toad that may be the largest cane toad ever recorded!
Cane toads are an invasive species native to Central & South America, but introduced to Australia to control destructive beetles in sugarcane crops.
The toads have now spread across NSW & other parts of Australia. They are a pest because the toads poison &/or eat native animals, as well as eating some foods relied on by native insectivores.
Originally Australia had no predators or diseases to control cane toad numbers. But now some native species, such as the white ibis bird & rakali water rat have learnt how to eat the toads without being poisoned!
Find awe & yourself in nature
Hope for the hopping mouse
Mitchell’s Hopping Mouse was presumed extinct in NSW due to habitat loss and feral animals. But since April 2022, 150 of the mice have been reintroduced.
Bred at a South Australian safari park, the mice have been released in western NSW’s Mallee Cliffs National Park in the largest feral predator-free enclosure on mainland Australia!
Find the other species already released, or soon to be re-wilded at Mallee Cliffs …
GOOD NEWS …
Plastics bans start in NSW
Australians have the second biggest single-use plastic use per person in the world, but things are changing for the better …
Lightweight single-use plastic bags have been banned in NSW since June 2022 and from November so will other single-use plastics including straws, cutlery and plates.
Have a look at the 10 worst single-use plastics and eco-friendly alternatives
Koala colony discovery
Koalas are an endangered species in NSW and also, it turns out, good at blending into the scenery! Two citizen scientists have photographed nearly 80 previously undocumented koalas in Heathcote National Park on Sydney’s southern fringe. It’s hoped that there could be more as-yet-undiscovered koala colonies.
Wet weather helps pelicans thrive
With extensive flooding and storm damage in 2022, it’s easy to forget that wet weather is not always a bad thing. NSW’s wet summer helped created ideal conditions for native pelicans to breed at Lake Brewster in the Central West. A record-breaking 15,000 nests were recorded at the lake! Research and conservation work has used bands on pelicans to track their movements, as well as artificial intelligence to analyse drone footage.
Magpies v Researchers
Researchers testing out backpack-like tracking devices on magpies were surprised to discover an entirely new social behaviour rarely seen in birds. The magpies cooperated … to help each other remove the trackers!
So it’s “back to the drawing board” for researchers on how to collect the data needed on magpie movements.
Read more about the research and magpies here: Altruism in birds? Magpies have outwitted scientists by helping each other remove tracking devices