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Understanding the need for nature

Ecologist Dr Mike Weston has been fascinated by nature and our interactions with the natural world from a very young age.


Published 17 August 2015

Science is absolutely essential in understanding the natural world and ensuring that the welfare of our native plants and animals and the places they live are properly managed.

In this series of stories we talk to Victorian scientists who dedicate their lives to understanding the ecology of our natural environment and take a look at how we use science as the foundation for our conservation work.


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What's ecology?

Ecology is the study of interactions between plants and animals and their environment. It gives us an overall picture of the processes and systems at work in our natural world and is vital in predicting the effects our actions have on different species and ecosystems.

Without the knowledge our ecologists develop we'd have little idea about how to manage our natural environment.

So, before we get started, we'd just like to send out a big thank you to the ecological scientists of Victoria, your ongoing research underlines many of our campaigns and makes a significant contribution to the establishment and protection of our beautiful national parks.


Mike Weston - the birdman

Walks along the Mullum Mullum Creek 'wilderness' with his mum as a very young lad gave Mike Weston an insatiable appetite for learning about nature.

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Libby Rumpff - enter the whirlwind

Libby Rumpff describes her work schedule as a 'slightly-crazed, multi-tasking whirlwind' but achieves a healthy work/life balance by making sure she has time to stop and smell the Chocolate Lilies with her family.

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Richard Loyn - sharing his passion for nature

Richard Loyn brings years of expertise to our Caught on Camera project, happily sharing his knowledge with our dedicated bunch of wildlife monitors.

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Desley Whisson - wildlife warrior

She's carried out research on everything from pocket gophers to squirrels, rats and mongooses, and now Dr Desley Whisson is turning her attention to Victoria's koala populations.

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Citizen science volunteers bring monitoring projects to life

Our volunteers form the backbone of our nature monitoring projects. Without their dedication to citizen science we'd know far less about how to protect Victoria's native plants and animals and the habitats they live in.

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Yung En Chee - learning to live with nature

Growing up on the urban fringe of Singapore and watching what was left of its semi-natural landscape cleared for urban development has made Dr Yung En Chee determined to help us learn to live with nature.

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Shaun Cunningham - a fascination for plants

Like many of us Dr Shaun Cunningham developed a love of plants after a childhood spent playing and holidaying in the bush, and now he's using that passion as a forest ecologist to help restore some of Victoria's most vital ecosystems.

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How science helped protect the largest River Red Gum forest in the world

It's fair to say that without the dedication of scientists and researchers whose valuable work contributed so much to the understanding of River Red Gum ecosystems the largest River Red Gum forest in the world, the Barmah-Millewa Forest, would not be protected in our parks system today.

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