Nature

Stone Ghosts

On Mount Mitsumine in Oku-Chichibu, some 1,000 metres above sea level and surrounded by forest, is Mitsumine-Jinja – the most famous wolf shrine in Japan. The wolf in Japanese folklore…

Polar Bears 2

Furry Attractions: Polar Bears in the Zoo

In the western hemisphere, polar bears have lived in our midst since the Middle Ages, a result of our fascination with these charismatic carnivores. Already in 1252, Henry III of…

Polar Bear

Darwin’s Polar Bear

Many people may be aware that the beaks of Galápagos “finches” (in fact, the islands’ mockingbirds) helped Charles Darwin to develop his ideas about evolution. But few people realize that…

Cai-Guo-Qiang-Head-On-Vortex

Open Call: Wolf Crossing

In Finland there is a line around the city: susiraja, the wolf border. Within is law and order: shopping malls and social security. Beyond the susiraja lie the wilds and…

Kircher, Noah's Ark

The Paper Zoo

Choosing to draw: philosophy and aesthetics Whatever else the Romans may have done for us, teaching us to draw was not one of their gifts. The two great works of…

Cheri Smith triptych 4

Fruiting Bodies in the Forest School

Fungi are unusual. They are easier to define through a process of elimination, by identifying what they are not. They are not animal, mineral or vegetable, but ‘fruiting bodies’, strange…

Flowerdale Victoria epicormic buds

Epicormic Psychology

The regeneration of Australia’s flora and fauna after fire is swift; or is this just a misconception of a nation’s psyche?     The winding trail of sandstone rubble ascends…

Toads breeding

An Orgy of Toads

Soon after the clocks have gone forward and April Fools has passed, a spring event occurs which has yet to capture the popular imagination in quite the same way as…

Milla Koivisto - Kaiku

Kaiku

Kaiku peeked through the kitchen window. The scene was empty – the Shaman was out. Kaiku went to the kitchen cupboard. Behind the pots and pans her fingers found a…

Christmas tree farm, Espoo Finland

Not Just Fir Christmas

The fir tree has had a part to play in traditional winter festivities across Northern Europe for centuries, and a plaque marks the spot where an evergreen was first displayed…

Hugh Warwick, direct action against GM crops

Plant Migrations

With human civilisation comes ecological engineering. Over 10,000 years we have changed the world in increasingly dramatic ways. Many of these changes have been deliberate. Many have been the unintended…