Dust Storms – Totally Wild

Growing up as a child in the 1990s in Australia meant watching “Totally Wild” after school. Totally Wild is a show about the natural environment in Australia and its many facets. Ranger Tim and Ranger Stacy (from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) would talk about conservation, biodiversity, the urban environment and Australian ecosystems of a weekday afternoon. It wasn’t my favourite show and I would often channel surf in an attempt to find something better to watch (I think it was mainly the theme music that put me off the show) but every once in a while there’d be something quite fascinating on and I’d sit and watch it. Given that the only other environment-themed show on TV at the time appeared to be Captain Planet, it’s pretty neat that Channel Ten put some resources into making a show about Australia’s natural environment.

Late last year I was approached by my primary supervisor, Lidia Morawska, to be part of a piece on dust storms for Totally Wild that was going to be filmed in our lab. Yes. Of course. Not a moment of hesitation. I don’t consider myself an aerosol scientist but I couldn’t help get caught up in the excitement in September 2009 when a dust storm hit the East coast of Australia. Our group published a paper on the dust storm and this was the basis of the Totally Wild piece. The script went through a few revisions, attempting to balance “punchy” with “scientifically accurate” and it was a great way to spend a Friday afternoon, talking to an excitable TV crew about the work that we do at ILAQH.

There’s a piece still to come on Scope which will feature some speaking parts by Leigh Crilley (atmospheric chemistry) and Lingli Guo (lung deposition) who are shown in the Totally Wild Piece. The Scope piece will go deeper into the aerosol research that we do, not just the formation of dust storms.

The Totally Wild piece can be viewed at the following link: Totally Wild – S2, E37 part 2/3

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