If none of that made any sense, then let me help you out. At the last Ecological Society of Australia meeting in Alice Springs, I witnessed a rather unique way to give a scientific presentation – via bush poetry. Dr. Dale Nimmo of Deakin University was particularly engaging, and he agreed to have his presentation poem reproduced here. Who said scientists were boring? Honourable mention too to Simon Watson for another audience-engaging, bush-poetry seminar (but I don’t have that to reproduce here). There also might be a slidecast of Dale’s presentation coming soon. For now, please enjoy the poetic delivery of science in text.
The Old Grey Box of Heathcote TownHeathcote town, just east of Bendigo, A big old grey box tree casts an eye. The sallee fills the understory bright as sunlights glow, As the silvereyes and thornbills flitter by. This landscape, bruised and battered from 200 years of change, Holds the secrets of a time lost somehow. One of Jaara land, where lowan dug and dingoes howled, The latter two, here, just distant memories now. The gold rush came like bushfire, ring barked trees fell like boughs Of the red gums scattered on the old flood plains, That made way for sheep and cattle, while, fighting a losing battle, rufous bettongs were never seen again. When a man of English gentry, Professor Bennett was his name, Found the woodlands to his aristocratic tastes. Many days he’d venture in, binoculars under his chin, He never let a single bird call go to waste. While at the old St Arnaud Inn, over a couple pints of gin, Bennet and a bloke called Radford got to talking. Stealing horses was his game, but he’d give it all away, To join Bennett in woodlands, bird walking