Posts Tagged With: video

You Are My Ultimate Referee

What’s going on?

I’ve made the top 25 – from a field of 45000 – for the Queensland Park Ranger role in Tourism Australia’s Bests Job in the World. The opportunity could change my life. But to make the cut for the final 3, I need to secure the support of ‘ultimate referees’ for the position.

A Park Ranger’s job is to watch over and protect the environment – which means I’ll be doing a job that’s important to everyone. That’s why I think the ultimate referee isn’t just one person. It’s the multitude of people around the world who appreciate the most inspiring areas of the planet we live on.

An image of a dragonfly on gravel

That means you!

Why should you be my referee?

My whole life so far has been preparing me for this job; academically, professionally and in thousands of hours spent experiencing Australia’s unique wilderness.

This job isn’t just about promoting the Great Barrier Reef – though that’s important. It’s also about the sweeping outback, which is too often out of sight and mind of environmentalists. It’s about animals like the Armoured Mist Frog, thought extinct but recently rediscovered in the remote Far North, and intricate ecosystems of all kinds. It’s about a landscape with tens of thousands of years of enchanting heritage. And it’s about helping people to feel a sense of wonder and connection with nature. I will strive to share stories of Queensland that you haven’t heard before.

So what am I asking you to do?

Early Referees

Some of my first referees – signs in any language welcome!

I need people who believe I can be a great Park Ranger to endorse me, and the video below explains how you can help me by doing this. I need voices of all ages, walks of life, and continents – because everyone has a stake in the natural world. To become one of my ultimate referees, just do these four things:

1. Get your pen and paper out and make a sign, or print one.

2. Take a happy snap with the sign – it could just be you, or with a local landmark, pet, park or doing something you love.

3. Send the picture(s) to me at dave4ranger AT gmail DOT com by the end of Sunday 5th May.

4. Use the sharing options below to spread the word about this post far and wide! In many ways this is the most important part – I’m putting my chances for getting this job in your hands.

Everyone who endorses me will be a part of my ‘ultimate referee’ package that will give me a shot at reaching the final. Think of it like a kickstarter, except it’s free for you to become a backer, and if it succeeds I’ll give you 6 months of great photos, videos and stories :-)

To see my initial application video and find out why I’m perfect for this job, click here.

Categories: communication, environmentalism, Science, Travel, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

This gives me ideas

I missed this one when it went viral in 2009, but back then I was planning my own adventures. Now, on a sunny London afternoon (yes, they exist), having just been for a walk in the park (… for those counting, this is a pre-scheduled post!) it seems like a fantastic idea.

But how far could I push myself on a project like this? A week? A month? A year? Where would I do it? China has many obstacles; the language would probably be one of the biggest. Also, though, the culture isn’t something that fascinates me. Europe? Or is it too developed to be fun? Australia? Would I survive the wilderness?

Would I walk, or ride a bike, or drive a car like I did in 2010?

At Congo, New South Wales, on a crisp winter afternoon...

Could I build surfing into the trip, and if so, how would I manage the gear? Could it be an amazing way to experience the United States?

As you can see, my head is buzzing with ideas. London has been an urban adventure, but it doesn’t sate in me the hunger awakened by my youth at the shack, then travel with my family aged 11, then 5 months with Dad aged 15, and my own adventures since.

That there is The Shack at Point Turton, and it holds some of my most precious memories.

If you navigate the map downwards (south) of those buildings, you can see a dark brown area of land – ‘the swamp’ – which we, as a handful of kids, used to explore and trek and play in. It was full of twisted trees and sheep bones and little mystery hideouts. We clambered through barbed wire fences and felt a sense of wonder at the world, but also what I can only describe as naturalness at being there, a state that can only be achieved when the journey is not about achieving ‘place x’ but simply to see what’s there.

OK, this is garbled and long, but it has planted a more determined seed than the existing one inside me which chatters away, vaguely telling me to ‘see more of the world’. It might not be tomorrow, it might not be this year, but… watch this space.

Categories: environmentalism, Fun Things On Land, photos, Road Trip, Things people do, Thoughts, Travel, Videos | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

What Is Science Communication?

In mid January, I was roped into volunteered to help with what promised to be an exciting and fun day: a Making for Science Communication workshop, run by my ‘Science In Motion’ partner in crime, Morag Hickman.

Morag gathered 16 students and four techie assistants (myself included) into the Humanities department at Imperial College. For 12 hours on a Saturday, we brainstormed, planned, argued, made, photographed, filmed, recorded and edited. I was expecting something along the lines of a craft workshop; what the day actually provided was an insight into the whole process of storytelling and creation of a video, from a concept to completion.

The brief was wide open at the start of the day. The students had been asked to bring in audio clips of people talking around the question, ‘What is Science Communication?’. There were responses from scientists, children and science communicators, with lots of viewpoints represented. Having listened to the contributions, we had our task: put it together in some semblance of order, and then create visuals to go with it. Here’s the result:

It’s a gentle, thoughtful piece, peppered with Haiku poems written by children about science. What was more interesting was the process we went through. I learned just as much as the students, I think!

The quantity and diversity of the audio clips was always going to pose a challenge – probably about half an hour of it all up, and we needed to slice and dice it down into a digestible but still insightful mix. Morag led the group through the early stages of scripting, then let them argue things out. I must say this was the most difficult part of the workshop; Morag’s expertise lies in the creative making side of things, and scripting with a group of 16 is an almost unachievable task. Fortunately, Morag had assembled a team to help with such situations, and introduced Alia in the role of Exective Producer to whip the script quickly into shape. The result perhaps wasn’t ‘ideal’ given the material we had, but it pushed us through to the next phase: making.

Four groups split off, each storyboarding then animating a scene. They had half an hour to do each scene, start to finish; so each little clip in the video above was conceptualised and created, with no rough-cuts or test shooting, in a ridiculously short time. Some worked better than others, but all were an opportunity to experiment with different techniques and think outside of the box when adding visuals to audio.

Morag led this process very effectively: keeping an eye on the time, offering help and advice throughout and providing some great tips and tricks. I spent most of the time compiling stop-motions and helping with camera work; there may be a making-of video soon, which will document more of the process.

I drew a couple of things from the day, even from my slightly-outside-position. One was to see the condensed creative process, and where sticking points lie in such time-limited projects. The value of being able to mull over problems and ideas is huge. Another was to see just how much can be achieved in a short time using relatively simple techniques.

Clearly, the video is far from polished, but it was created in one day by a group with, functionally, zero experience! It was exhausting – 14 hours, in the end – but I’m confident that reflecting on the process, difficulties and success of the day will give the students a platform to build their skills from, which would take much longer to build through self-exploration alone.

Categories: communication, Science, Videos | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Adios, Sea Ice, er, Os.

This is one of the coolest 30-second videos I’ve seen. Coolest, and scariest. Literally coolest.

From the description, by Youtube user Revkin:

Ignatius Rigor, who studies Arctic ice and climate at the University of Washington, has created an animation showing how the oldest thickest sea ice has been progressively flushed from the Arctic Ocean over the last two decades.
More background here:
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/arctic/
and here:
http://seaice.apl.washington.edu/

Caveat: I don’t know what the source of the data is for this animation, whether it is a model or based on real satellite observations. That said:

Down the slippery side of a near-record or record low. Source: NSIDC.

And a picture of snow, for good measure.

The metal of the drain lid wasn't as kind to the snow as the asphalt...

Categories: environmentalism, Problems, Science, Videos | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Crikey, that’s big!

Check out the highlights of yesterday’s massive swell at Teahupoo, Tahiti. If you want to skip to the most insane bit, jump to about 2:40… terrifyingly big and powerful. Remember, just under the surface of the water is sharp coral reef!

There’s also a really well-written account of the day here; check it out to hear about the consequences of such a day.

Raimana struggles to his feet and very slowly makes his way up on to more or less dry land, where Luke Egan carefully helps him peel off his wetsuit. He has a deep grazed bruise all the way down his right side, from shoulder to knee. “I was in it,” he says, meaning the wave, “and then it just swung around and threw me. I hit HARD, man.”

“You were saved by your wetsuit,” says Luke.

“And my PFD,” says Raimana. The reef has torn him up through a life vest and a wettie.

Categories: Surf, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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