02.09.2022 | Spring, La Niña & Trail Chats 🌸

Sep 02, 2022 1:01 am

We protect what we love


FRIDAY . 02. 09. 22 .

Good morning folks and welcome to our first newsletter of Spring 🌸

It really felt like spring last weekend at Wonderland Run in Gariwerd/Grampians, with acicas in full bloom, and native flowers and heath out in spectacular colour. After sampling some of the GPT, Flick and I hosted a screening of Run Nation at the local Hall, with a great turnout of locals, runners and trail lovers! On Sunday we cheered on runners at the finish line, under the spectacular backdrop of the Wonderland Range. This weekend we'll be at TRS #4 in Plenty Gorge, so if you're headed along, be sure to swing by and say hey!

In this weeks newsletter, we explain the La Nina weather system, link you to our trail chat with Giles and Matt and summarise the main reasons why the Red River Gum is the 2022 Tree of the Year.

Finally, a huge shout out to Lou Clifton who came 17th at UTMB and first in her age category - Masters 50-54. To say that Lou is phenomenal and inspiring would be a very big understatement. Lou started running ultras at the age of 43 and celebrated her 50th birthday with a very casual Buffalo Stampede 100km win (and also took out the entire 152km stampede over the weekend, competing in the 10km, 100km and 42km events)! We’ve reached out to Lou and she’s very keen to host a newsletter, so stay tuned for this in the near future.

Great things have also been happening for Liz Mackevicius - Liz competed in the Sunshine Coast Marathon earlier in August, placing 4th in her age category and 13th female overall. Liz is currently in France (where I’d rather be!) where she paced a friend in UTMB and offered sideline support. We’ll also be hearing about Liz’s UTMB experience as a spectator. So much to look forward to.

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What is it? And why is it making my summer so wet?

The east coast of Australia has been hammered by rain over the past two summers, with communities experiencing unprecedented flooding. With this summer expected to be similar due to another La Niña event, I thought i’d take the opportunity to understand a little bit more about this weather system.

La Niña is responsible for bringing ‘above average rainfall’ and ‘cooler average temperatures’ to areas south of the tropics and an increased chance of tropical cyclones.

La Niña is the result of wind. Yep, wind. Specifically trade winds that blow east to west across the equator and, when that wind picks up, it draws up cooler water from the pacific ocean and pushes the warmer water west towards Australia. The warmer the water, the easier it is to evaporate, which condenses into clouds, resulting in rain.



La Niña is a Spanish word meaning ‘the sister’ and, you guessed it, La Niño is Spanish for ‘the brother’. These Spanish siblings are part of the El Niño Southern Oscillation System. Whilst eastern Australia is experiencing La Niña, South America is experiencing La Niño with soaring high temperatures and drought, which is devastating their agriculture (just like it did here when Australia last had La Niño).

The west coast of Australia is driven by the Indian Ocean Dipole. Check out this reel for more about this weather system.

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Tales from the AAWT


On Wednesday evening we caught up with Matt Gore and Giles Penfold from Takayna 655 for Trail Chat #4. The chat covered plenty of topics, including how they came to meet, their accidental introduction to trail running, what's next on their adventure to-do list, and some incredible insights into the challenges faced along the AAWT.

We spoke at length about their relationship with nature both prior to the traverse, and how their natural surroundings affected their mood and outlook as they explored some of the most remote parts of eastern Australia. Despite being in the middle of wild places, with not a sign of human existence, the terrible impacts of climate change were evident from bushfire and wind damage, to the degradation from invasive species such as deer and brumbies. The widespread and long term impacts of human induced climate change was incredibly evident along the AAWT.

It was a really wonderful chat, and is a great resource for anyone else considering attempting a fundraising feat such as this. Matt and Giles were very generous with their time and insights, and we really hope you take the time to catch up on our conversation.

You can watch the recording here via YouTube.



The River Red Gum, Eucalpytus camaldulensis


A giant Red River Gum at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.

📷 Hilary McAllister.

After three rounds of voting and more that 270,000 votes, the River Red Gum has won the Australian Tree of the Year 2022. Australian’s must have a general fondness of Gum Trees, as the Snow Gum and Ghost Gum came 2nd and 3rd, and #teamfig and #teamwattle fans are left in hope for next year. The River Red Gum was certainly hard to beat - it grows across so much of Australia that it definitely had geography on its side.

This iconic native eucalypt grows to a height of 30m and, whilst they don’t develop annual growth rings like other trees, ecologists estimate them to have a lifespan of between to 500-1000 years. For over 60 thousand years, this tree has provided hardware, been a pharmacy and much, much more for Indigenous Australians. The trees have a large central tap root that run very deep that are able to soak up water under ground.


Red River Gums along the Richardson River on Dja Dja Wurrung Country (north-western Victoria)

📷 Hilary McAllister.

The River Red Gum has also attracted many photographers and artists who have stood underneath the tree in silent admiration, with one of the most famous pieces of work being The Spirit of Endurance.

Whilst it wasn’t my personal pick (I’m on #teamwattle), the Red River Gum is certainly a worthy winner.

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Thursday 8 September is ‘R U OK?’ Day - our national day of action where Australian’s are reminded that every day is the day to ask those wonderful and supportive three words, ‘are you okay?’. These words aim to start a meaningful conversation with people who may be struggling with life.

R U OK? Is a harm prevention charity that encourages people to stay connected and have conversations that can help others through difficult times in their lives. In Australia, 8 people take their lives every day and for every death, it’s estimated that another 30 people attempt to take their life.

To help you to engage meaningfully with people in your life, R U OK? has released resources, tips and ideas to help you drive genuine change in your workplace, school and community, and provides advice on how to ask someone if they are okay.

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That’s all from us, today folks! Thank you for being a valued part of our community - we are loving being able to get out there more and meet the people that are supporting the growth of For Wild Places.


Until next week, take it easy, enjoy watching flowers bloom as we transition into spring and play safe out on the trails. And, as always, thank you for taking the time to support wild places!

Elanor & the For Wild Places team




04/09 TRS Plenty Gorge | event info

08/10 Trail First Aid Course, Arthurs Seat | register

16/10 TRS Silvan | event info

11/02 Trail First Aid Course, Arthurs Seat | register

We acknowledge the the First Nations people who have been custodians of land, waters and culture for tens of thousands of years. We pay respects to First Nations Elders past, present and emerging.

This email was written on Gadigal lands. To these people, we pay our respects.

Always was, always will be.