Two Gobbledoks, later identified as Brown Quails, ran out in front of me during a walk at Tempe Reserve. It's great that there is this kind of wildlife living here. They are faster than olympic runners.

1.  A while ago I posted about the death of The Senator, a 3,500-year-old Bald cypress, which stood in Big Tree Park Florida USA.  The Senator was 36 metres tall (118 feet) & had an 5.5 metre (18 feet) diameter.  This ancient tree had burnt down despite being fitted with lightening rods to prevent catching fire.  See –  Arson was suspected & is now known to have caused the death of this majestic tree. What is surprising to me is that the use of crystal meth is involved, as the hollow of an ancient tree in a national park is not the first setting I would think of for illicit drug use.  A 26-year-old woman has been charged for allegedly setting fire to the tree while using crystal meth inside the hollow of the tree“I can’t believe I burned down a tree older than Jesus,” she allegedly told friends later.

2.  The Journal of the American Medical Association has published an article about the link between exposure to air pollution and an increased risk of heart attack.  The scientists found, “that being exposed to all major toxic fumes – except ozone – for a period of up to seven days “significantly” increased the risk.”  The facts are indisputable.  I believe it is cheaper to plant trees & increase the canopy in parks than it is for the health system to pay for pollution-related illnesses.

3. Danish researchers found that, “people living in urban zones with high estimated concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (traffic-related air pollution) were 22% more likely to suffer a fatal stroke than people in less-polluted neighborhoods.  Previous studies have found that air pollution particles, which are small enough to make their way into the blood stream, contribute to inflammation of the blood vessels, which ultimately may lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke & heart failure.”  This is a really strong argument to plant more trees, especially in high traffic areas.

4.  Seven-acres of public land in Seattle is to be transformed into the city’s first food

Tempe Reserve

Tempe Reserve has vast areas of unused lawn

forest.  Exotic & regular fruit & nut trees will be planted as well as herbs.  “…walnut & chestnut trees; blueberry & raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples & pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, & lingonberries.”  All this will be available for anyone who wants to harvest the produce.   The food forest will use permaculture techniques & be self-sustaining.

Amazing.  We could do similarly in Marrickville LGA if the community were allowed to use the massive amounts of unused land owned by Railcorp & areas in parks where nothing, but the mower & the odd bird goes.  There are plenty of sites that would be suitable for orchards & gardens. Planting these out would do more than provide food.  It would add more trees, help to sequester CO2, improve the air quality by removing pollution, help lower the urban heat island effect, improve biodiversity & add beauty in areas that for decades have added a level of ugliness along our railway lines.  The community too would utilize the unused areas in parks & the opportunities for community involvement & education are immense.

5.  A commuter bus with a green roof has been driving around New York City for the past 5 months.  Called ‘Bus Roots,’ the project aims to put a green roof on around 4,500 public buses, adding 35 acres of mobile green space working for the city by cleaning the air.

6.  The city of Philadelpia in the US has announced an innovative tree planting initiative that is designed to increase their urban forest by 300,000 trees by 2015. Can you imagine how beautiful it will look?  Called ‘TreePhilly Initiative,’ the program gives a free tree to residents who agree to plant them within 15 days, water them for the next 2 years & care for them for life. 2,000 trees will be offered now with another 2,000 trees next autumn. Residents have a choice of small & large stature trees that are already 1.5 metres tall.

7. A new urban wetland/public park has been created over 9 acres of disused industrial land in Los Angeles.  Unlike most parks, which feature green lawns & picnic tables, this one is composed of walking paths, native plants & several kidney-shaped pools filled with storm water. Naturally occurring bacteria clean pollutants from the water, which eventually feeds into a storm drain.”

8. Researchers in China near the Inner Mongolian district of Wuda have discovered a 300 million-year-old forest buried under around 1-metre of volcanic ash.  Many of the plants & trees are in pristine condition. The world can look forward to photos when they are finally released.

9.  Alarmingly, many of the world’s biggest trees are dying.  They are being killed off by development, climate change, new pests & diseases & drought & are unable to adapt to these changes.

10.  The city of San Francisco is turning the responsibility & maintenance of more than 23,000 street trees to local residents in a process expected to take 7 years.  Each tree will be assessed & certified healthy before being transferred to the care of the community. Trees planted in the middle of the road will continue to remain in the care of the city.  By doing this the city expects to save about $300,000 in 2012.

11. The city of San Francisco is planning to remove 18,448 trees from Sharp Park in Pacifica & another 3,448 from the city because they are non-native. Most of the trees targeted for removal are Eucalypts & Monterey cypress pines.  The city says they will replace 1 tree for each tree removed, though it does not say where the replacement trees will be planted. They plan to create native grasslands. Community environment groups such as San Francisco Forest Alliance are fighting the plan & are very worried about the impact on biodiversity.  “‘Restoration ecology’ is a euphemism for a kind of gardening informed by an almost cultish veneration of the ‘native’ & abhorrence of the naturalized, which is commonly characterized as ‘invasive,'” (said) Arthur Shapiro, a distinguished professor of evolution & ecology at UC Davis

It's not often I get high enough to see the canopy of Marrickville LGA during daylight hours. This was taken from St Peters Town Hall. The arrow points to the water tower at Petersham.