I’ve hooked up with Dr David Paton’s annual summer surveys of the sublime Coorong area of South Australia several times over the years, most memorably taking my kids along as volunteers when they were small. They plucked tiny birds out of mist nets and weighed them, sifted the water for tiny larvae, released pygmy possums out of field traps, and after the washing up was done in the field camp, did jigsaws and talked about the wild world with actual scientists. It was a beautiful time in a magical place, but already we felt we were witnessing its vanishing. Worst fears are being realised. My story for The Monthly is here.