Chris Waller and Nash Rawiller target group 1 double figures on Stradbroke day

In form: Nash Rawiller guides Moriarty to victory in the Eagle Farm Cup on Saturday. Photo: Tertius PickardThe combination of the leading group 1 trainer and jockey in the country is set to dominate Saturday’s Stradbroke meeting at Eagle Farm, and with a bit of luck, Chris Waller and Nash Rawiller could move their top-level wins for the season to double figures.
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The Waller-Rawiller combination will have the favourites in the J. J. Atkins Stakes in Brazen Beau and in the Queensland Derby with Vilanova, and Moriarty will top pick in the Brisbane Cup. On Stradbroke day last year Waller had a winning treble.

“I will be happy if we can win one race on a day like that,” Waller said. “We have a couple of good chances.”

Waller is coming off five winners at Rosehill on Saturday and the win of Moriarty in the Eagle Farm Cup, which took the stable beyond $20 million in stakes for the season.

Waller and Rawiller will be the group 1 leaders for the season but Saturday could prove a red-letter day. Both sit on eight group 1 wins but have combined for only a single success at that level when Red Tracer won the Myer Classic at Flemington in the spring.

After winning the Dane Ripper Stakes on this day for the past two years, Red Tracer will have a crack at the Stradbroke on Saturday.

“I think in group 1 open company that 1400 metres is her ideal trip without a doubt,” Rawiller said. “She will go into it fresh and ready to go.”

Waller has opted to split his two classy mares and Catkins will run in the Dane Ripper.

The premier trainer believes the time is right for Red Tracer’s third group 1 success.

“She has had such an illustrious career and at this point another group 1 is more important than winning another Dane Ripper,” Waller said.

“I don’t think it is an overly strong Stradbroke and she is well weighted. In particular against those at the bottom of the weights.

“There are a couple around her in the weights which she might struggle to beat, but I think she is a great hope.”

Waller will also start Velrosso, which he admits “would need to improve”. He also has an interest in QTC Cup winner  Sacred Star, which went from his stable to that of Tony Pike after winning a race as a three-year-old.

“It’s good to see Tony coming over here with good horses. [Sacred Star] is a gelding now and is racing very well,” Waller said.

Three-year-old filly Srikandi is the $4.50 Stradbroke favourite, ahead of Rebel Dane at $5.50 and Hucklebuck at $7. Red Tracer and Spirit Of Boom are on the fourth line of betting at $9.

Brazen Beau is a $2.20 favourite in the J. J. Atkins, despite his last-start defeat in the Sires Produce Stakes by Time For War.

“I thought he was very good last time and very strong on the line,” Rawiller said. “I will ride him to get the mile but I think he will, the way he relaxes.”

Vilanova became Queensland Derby favourite following his Grand Prix win a couple of weeks ago. Waller believes that win could be a turning point for a horse that has long been seen as a potential topliner.

“It was good for his confidence and when they do what he did, they can go on,” Waller said.

“He is finally maturing.” Rawiller said, “and put on the track what everyone thought he would.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

SPORTING SIDELINES: Tim Cahill supports his supporters

A PICTURE of Socceroos main man Tim Cahill giving his scarf to a fan as they left Sydney for Brazil brought back some World Cup memories for Herald sports hack Kevin Cranson.
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Our man attended the 2006 cup in Germany with a few mates. During the warm-up for Australia’s first game against Japan in Kaiserstauten, the boys noticed a small knot of English supporters chanting: ‘‘Timmy, Timmy give us a wave.’’

Cahill duly obliged. In fact, he ran over to the side of the ground where the supporters were and gave them the thumbs-up.

Next morning the Newcastle crew were having a recovery session at the local pool and got talking with some England fans.

Turns out they were Everton supporters, and it was them who had attracted Cahill’s attention the night before.

They had tickets to England’s games and also Australia’s matches – just so they could support Cahill.

‘‘We love him, and he understands how important the fans are,’’ they said.

When they draw 2-2 with Croatia in their last group game to qualify for the second round, the Socceroos did a lap of honour, and you could see Cahill make a beeline for a section of the crowd and throw his shirt to a supporter.

Cahill revealed that it was the Everton fans who had been at every game who got the treasured souvenir.

POKOLBIN harness racing sensation Lauren Panella has the Midas touch.

Since returning from a long suspension last month, the Holmesville-raised driver has been on a remarkable run of victories.

The 20-year-old saluted on five pacers at Menangle over the past two Saturday nights, which followed sets of three and five wins at Newcastle.

As the No.1 driver for premier Hunter Valley trainer Shane Tritton, many of the wins have come on his pacers.

But Panella has also helped bring out the best in horses trained elsewhere.

The pint-sized reinswoman steered home Barry Matterson’s Mile High Anvil, which had not won in a year, and Roy Roots snr’s Inception, which had not saluted since February last year. It had seven drivers try to break the drought over 16 runs before Panella sat behind it for a first-time victory.

Despite missing more than two months suspended, Panella leads the NSW concession drivers’ premiership with 106 wins, 17 clear of her nearest rival, and the overall metropolitan standings with 35, 14 clear of next best.

Needless to say, Panella’s is one the punters should be following.

THE Marsden family of Mount Hutton are paying a high price for their success in the pool.

Father Dan Marsden is a former Australian Olympic team captain who has player-coached the Hunter Hurricanes National Water Polo League side for the past two seasons.

This year, Marsden played alongside his teenage sons, Mitch and Keenan, in the Hurricanes’ senior side.

It costs the Hurricanes men’s side about $40,000 a year to compete in the national league and expenses are largely player-funded, meaning the Marsdens have had to dig deep.

On top of that, both sons were picked last month in the Australian team for the world youth championships in Istanbul in August. The bill for each player to make the trip is $10,000.

Their parents, Dan and Vanessa, are bracing for an even higher impost in the future because of the talents of their other child, 12-year-old daughter Jolie.

Dan believes Jolie could be the best of the bunch and all three kids may represent Australia at youth level at the same time.

FOR surfing stalwart Roger Clements, Merewether Surfboard Club’s 50th anniversary celebrations are doubly special.

The Merewether club hall of fame member is also celebrating 50 years of competitive surfing.

Clements entered his first event, the local Mid North Coast surfing championship at his local break, Crescent Head, at just 13.

Up against 18-year-olds, he was a first-round casualty.

Two years later, Clements’s family moved to Merewether, where he has become one of the surf club’s favourite sons.

He returned to his first home last month and surfed in the Crescent Head Malibu Classic, where he finished third in the over-60s, 50 years after his first competitive event on the break.

Clements has been a regular at the malibu event since the mid-80s, missing the contest just once.

‘‘I’ve surfed for well over 50 years and for 50 in competitions, and I still love it,’’ Clements said.

The Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame member said the Merewether club had been a big part of his life since finishing third in a junior event there at age 15.

As well as competing, he has also mentored many juniors, including former world No.2 Luke Egan.

He introduced them to competitive surfing and kept them on ‘the straight and narrow’’ during regular road trips up and down the coast.

He is still heavily involved with the club and was looking forward to its 50th anniversary dinner on June 28 at Newcastle City Hall.

‘‘The 25-year dinner was amazing, so I think the 50-year one will be even better,’’ he said.

Early bird $99 tickets are available until June 9.

LAMBTON Jaffas supremo Chris Sneddon accompanied good mate Michael Bridges to the recent Hong Kong Sevens tournament, where Bridgey turned out for his junior club, Wallsend Boys Club.

As our picture shows, Sneddo got to rub shoulders with one of the greats of the game, Peter Beardsley, another Wallsend Boys Club graduate.

The former Newcastle, Liverpool and England star still goes OK by all reports, but rumours that Sneddo has signed him up for a guest stint at the Jaffas are wide of the mark.

A BRAZILIAN court has sentenced football legend Pele’s son Edinho to 33 years in prison for laundering money for drug traffickers.

Edson Cholbi Nascimento, nicknamed Edinho, denies the charges in the case, which dates from 2005, and will be allowed to remain free pending appeal.

The Praia Grande criminal court in Sao Paulo sentenced three other defendants to 33 years and ordered the confiscation of all property seized in the police operation against them, including about 100 cars.

Edinho, 43, is accused of ties with a drug cartel led by Ronaldo ‘‘Naldinho’’ Duarte Barsotti. He admits buying drugs from the cartel but denies working with them.

Edinho had a relatively low-key career in the 1990s playing for Santos, the same club where his father shot to fame.

Pele has seven children. Considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, he won three World Cups with Brazil, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Carl Manu signs off with match-winning show: NHRU

NHRU: Waratahs snatch win with late penalty, photos
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TAKE THAT: Carl Manu, second Waratah from right, celebrates a try with his teammates. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

WARATAHS go-to man Carl Manu was desperate to leave an impression.

He did that and some.

The electrifying utility back scored two tries, one either side of half-time, to help haul the Tahs off the canvas and stretch the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union premiers’ winning streak to seven games with a 21-18 win over Merewether at Townson Oval on Saturday.

Manu flies to Belgium today to play for Dendermonde in the Flanders Open Rugby 10s, the biggest tournament of its kind in Europe.

The former fringe Super rugby centre, who spent several seasons playing professionally in Italy, will be gone for a fortnight and miss the grand final replay against Hamilton on June 14. There is a general bye next weekend.

That wasn’t the only motivation.

Hayden Pedersen’s wife, Lisa, gave birth to a son, Kyder, early Saturday morning and handed the coaching reins to close friend Manu.

‘‘I really wanted to go away with a win,’’ Manu said.

‘‘Hayden rang me with the good news about his little boy and gave me some instructions. I just wanted to make sure we got the win.’’

Adrian Curry may have landed a late penalty to secure the victory, but it was Manu who sparked the visitors to life.

Merewether were in control, leading 15-0 with two minutes until half-time.

They were the aggressor at the breakdown, had continually turned the Tahs around with a pin-point kicking game and then feasted on their lineout. At one point Shaun Rich picked off six straight against the throw.

Then, through two lapses, the game was transformed.

The Greens got lazy on a kick chase. Tahs Winger Alex Robson made a bust and linked with Jono Reynolds, who turned the ball inside for Manu to produce some neat footwork and touch down.

‘‘The effort was there and we executed everything perfectly bar the final two plays of the first half,’’ Merewether coach Michael Dan said.

Manu’s second try a minute after the break was just as easy. From the kick-off, fullback Tim Riley burst down the short side and found Manu, who outpaced the cover.

From there the premiers found a way to win.

Lifted by half-time replacements Loni Vikilani (hooker) and Aaron Doigne (prop) , they pressured a Greens outfit decimated by injury and forced them into error.

Already without Jayden Hetherington, Mac Rae, Adam Nolan, Pat Ireland and Lewie Dunn, they lost seven players including strike men Jay Strachan and Aiden Kelso.

‘‘The guys who came on did well, but any game where there is seven changes, you lose a bit of cohesion,’’ Dan said.

The Tahs’ issues were of their own making.

Manu and Riley were sent to the sin bin, leaving the visitors with 14 men for 20 of the final 23 minutes. Manu was given a yellow after he collared Gill from behind deep in the Tahs’ territory following an intercept.

After receiving treatment for the high shot, the hooker appeared OK before taking a couple of steps and collapsing.

Play was held up for 10 minutes before he was taken off on a stretcher. Gill was taken to hospital by ambulance and later cleared of serious injury.

Dan, who is a doctor and attended to Gill before the ambulance arrived, said he would study a replay of the incident before deciding whether to forward it to the citing commissioner.

Manu admitted that frustration had got the better of him but believed the matter had been dealt with on the field.

Ed Bacigalupo converted the ensuing penalty to stretch the lead to 18-10.

The Tahs, despite a man down, hit back through prop Alain Miriallakis, who burrowed over from close range after eight phases on the Greens tryline.

Curry missed the conversion but added a penalty to level. The Kiwi had a long-range penalty attempt fall short before producing the match winner at the death.

● NSW Country produced their best performance of the representative campaign to steamroll Australian Services 48-21 at Rugby Park, Singleton, on Saturday.

MOVIE REVIEW: Maleficent

FIERY PERFORMANCE: Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, as a vindictive witch, is the powerful piece of alchemy at the centre of Maleficent. MALEFICENT (M)
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Stars: Angelina Jolie, Janet McTeer, Isobelle Molloy

Director: Robert Stromberg

Screening: General release

Rating: ★★★

IMAGE makeover is something Hollywood does very well – and in the case of Maleficent, it’s a rebranding of one of its own products.

Disney has taken the villain of one of its most successful animations, Sleeping Beauty (1959), and reimagined her – not in an animation but in a live-action spectacle bristling with CGI and special effects. The vindictive witch has been given a backstory that explains why she condemned a baby girl to perpetual slumber. She’s not a straightforward force of evil any more – she’s something more complicated and understandable but no less devastating in her impact.

As a revisionist witch story, Maleficent is much better than Oz the Great and Powerful, also made by Disney. And it has a powerful piece of alchemy at its centre: Angelina Jolie as the title character. She’s tricked out with prosthetics and make-up (courtesy of Rick Baker) and she’s transformed by special effects, but it’s still recognisably a Jolie performance – fierce, glamorous and emotional.

Maleficent is directed by Robert Stromberg, who has worked for years in visual effects and was production designer for Oz the Great and Powerful, Alice in Wonderland and Avatar (he won Oscars for art direction for the last two films).

It’s a splendid-looking film. The effects are striking, whether they are dramatic battle confrontations between humans and the forces of the natural world, or small moments of delicate detail. As set pieces, they are impressive: whether they always work in the best interests of the story and the characters is another matter.

When we first meet Maleficent (Isobelle Molloy), the delicate detail is to the fore: she’s a child, happily exploring the woods and open spaces.

The narrator (Janet McTeer), whose dialogue is as blandly straightforward as the most unimaginative of fairytales, explains that she lives in a fairy world adjacent to a kingdom ruled by humans and these coexist uneasily.

This tension is drawn on for dramatic purposes, although it is never really established with any sureness.

RENEE VALENTINE: Yoga to relieve stress

AT PEACE: Relax with restorative yoga – it’s too good to be true. Picture: Jim RiceWHEN I received an email from yogi Bronni Page inviting me to come try her restorative yoga at The Junction one Sunday afternoon, she had me at her subject header: Feelin’ Snoozy?
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Her description, you see, of ‘‘On the surface, it’s all about lazing around on squishy bolsters and snoozing. But really, restorative yoga provides a nurturing environment for self-care and re-booting body and soul on a deep level’’ sounded absolutely delightful.

I felt like she knew me already – tired, depleted and in dire need of a good rest. My only concern was that I may indeed fall asleep on one of her bolsters.

So along I went with visions of one big slumber party upstairs at Go Vitality at The Junction and, I have to say, it was an absolutely delightful experience.

I have tried a handful of yoga classes, including hot power yoga, and until now, I have not particularly been a fan.

But this restorative yoga was more up my alley – slow-paced, lingering stretches, hugging pillows and lavender-scented eye pillows. Then, when Bronni asked if anyone would like a blanket, she would come around and ‘‘tuck us in’’ too. I thought it was too good to be true.

I denied the blanket and tuck in but on the inside, was dying for it – I can’t remember the last time I was ‘‘tucked in’’. Probably when I was sick as a child.

There was something comforting and soothing about the pillows and blankets in the class and I definitely left wanting more. It was a lovely experience on a Sunday afternoon – a really nice way to wind down, switch off for an hour and just focus on myself, something which rarely seems to happen these days, and I am sure there are plenty of you out there who feel the same.

It is definitely worth a try and you can find more information at bronnipageyoga南京夜网.au.

Pyramid training

IF you are gearing up for the Sun Herald City2Surf and are looking for some inspiration, then try this as a week-three guide in a 12-week preparation. You might this week do a strength/cardio session; interval session; a long run/walk of 30-40 minutes; and 1-2 shorter runs/walks of 20-25 minutes, all chat pace.

If you are looking to try something new, pyramid training is a good way to mix things up a bit.

Research has indicated that pyramid training not only adds variety to your workouts but also gives your muscles a new challenge.

Traditionally, pyramid training has involved starting with high repetitions and low weights then increasing your weights while decreasing your number of repetitions.

But you can also use bodyweight exercises this way for an effective workout. Give this a go and, as always, don’t forget to include an appropriate warm-up and cool-down, and modify for your specific needs and level of fitness.

❏10 squats-10 short shuttle runs/walks, 8 squats-8 shuttles, 6-6, 4-4; 2-2;

❏10 push-ups-100 skips, 8 push-ups-80 skips, 6-60; 4-40; 2-20;

❏10 pull-ups/rows-20 step-ups; 8 pull-ups/rows-18 step-ups; 6-16; 4-14; 2-12;

❏20 running arms with light dumbbells-20 star jumps; 18-18; 16-16; 14-14; 12-12;

Finish with some core work and a good stretch.

Renee Valentine is a qualified personal trainer and mother of two.

Email: [email protected]南京夜网

Newcastle Hunters defeat Norths Bears 78-66

Bennie Murray in action last week. Picture Jonathan Carroll THE Newcastle Hunters continued their mid-season revival with a polished 78-66 victory over Waratah Basketball League heavy hitters Norths Bears at Broadmeadow on Saturday night.
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Improving to a 6-6 win-loss record, it was Newcastle’s second victory over Norths (9-4) in the space of a fortnight and third win from their past four games after the Hunters hammered Illawarra 93-40 seven days earlier.

The Hunters started strongly against the 2012 WBL champions to lead 40-29 at half-time then resisted several Bears rallies during the third and fourth quarters.

‘‘Our team is finally demonstrating their potential, and last night was a wonderfully balanced team effort,’’ Hunters coach Trevor Gallacher said yesterday.

‘‘Norths were playing under-strength, and we are mindful not to get ahead of ourselves. But we are getting better each week and the players are believing in our system, working together and demonstrating great determination and unselfishness.

‘‘Our next challenge is to build consistency, which is developed at practice. We are more hungry than ever.’’

Bennie Murray led the Hunters with 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal but Gallacher said there were substantial efforts across the board, particularly in the paint on defence, where Newcastle had 10 blocked shots.

Big men Jon Howe (13 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) and Steve Davis (nine points, five boards, three blocks) made their presence felt inside and young gun Ryan Beisty was busy at both ends with 11 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Newcastle’s women’s team notched its most impressive victory of the season, stopping previously unbeaten Norths 72-62 to make it a winning double for the Hunters.

Ending their own three-game losing streak, the Hunters improved to 4-5 for the season and ended the Bears’ run of 10 straight victories.

Setting a fine example for the men’s team, Newcastle hit the ground running to lead 27-17 at quarter-time then consolidated that effort by holding Norths to just eight second-quarter points for a 41-25 half-time advantage.

Newcastle’s lead blew out to 23 points with less than four minutes remaining in the third term, then Norths rallied with a 22-7 run to trail 62-54 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Hunters held their nerve in the final five minutes.

Veteran floor leader Cheryl Willis tallied 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a classic captain’s knock, and was well supported by Susi Walmsley (10 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals) in her first game since returning home from her college stint in Hawaii.

Sophie White (10 points, five rebounds, two blocked shots) and Charlotte Bull (13 rebounds, six points, four assists, three steals) also made valuable contributions.

Former WBL Most Valuable Player Mitch Rueter (29 points, seven rebounds, five assists) was one of five Maitland players to score in double figures as the Mustangs snapped a four-game losing streak with a comprehensive 84-62 victory over Sydney Comets at Maitland Federation Centre on Saturday night.

The win reversed a 91-80 loss to the Comets at Alexandria two weeks earlier and kept the Mustangs in touch with the top six with a 6-7 record.

Sydney beat the Mustangs 79-53 in the women’s game at Maitland.

Andy Blair hopes Port to Port win leads to Games selection

Andy Blair hopes Port to Port win leads to Games selection RELIEVED: Andy Blair is first across the line at Nobbys Beach in the inaugural Port to Port race. Picture: Ryan Osland
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Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

TweetFacebookPort to Port Mountain Bike race gets muddy: Day 2 photos

PORT to Port mountain bike race winner Andy Blair is hopeful he will be celebrating Glasgow Commonwealth Games selection later this week.

Yesterday the 34-year-old from Canberra became the inaugural winner of four-day Port to Port by an overall time of 29 seconds from Bendigo teenager Chris Hamilton.

Blair won the 45-kilometre stage four from Swansea to Nobby’s, which journeyed through Blacksmiths Beach and Glenrock reserve, in a time of one hour, 44 minutes and 48 seconds.

There was a seven-man sprint to the finish line with also included the Hunter’s top cyclist, Wangi Wangi’s Chris Aitken.

Aitken was fourth in stage four and finished fifth overall, 14 minutes behind Blair.

While the Port to Port is not part of the Commonwealth Games selection criteria, Blair said the victory was invaluable practice.

‘‘I don’t know if I’m going to get a call up yet, but this has formed part of my preparation,’’ Blair said.

‘‘It’s really good training, this sort of event, where you’re racing day in day out. It’s really good intensity.’’

Blair’s victory was set up on day one when won the first stage at Nelson Bay by almost three minutes from Hamilton.

On day two Hamilton beat Blair by a second in a sprint to the line.

Blair’s lead was then shaved to just 28 seconds following the third stage where he finished seventh and 2.22 minutes behind Hamilton.

That meant it was vital Blair finished in the lead group on stage four.

‘‘It was a relief,’’ he said yesterday.

‘‘Yesterday really ate up my margin for safety. Any little problem could have been really bad with just a small lead of 28 seconds.’’

Blair’s partner Jenny Fay won all four stages in the women’s to be the overall series champion by almost 40 minutes.

TRICIA HOGBIN: Organic resolve firm

CHOICE BACKED: Recent literature reveals the preference for organic food isn’t misguided. Picture: Tricia HogbinI GROW my own veggies organically and often buy organic food.
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There are many reasons why I favour organic. I prefer my food be free of pesticide residues and I’d rather support small, sustainable farmers than large-scale industrialised agribusinesses. But the main reason I buy organic is that it’s better for the environment.

Or is it? Robert Paarlberg, in his book Food Politics, suggests that my preference for organic food may be misguided.

I read Paarlberg’s 2010 book recently and it had me scrambling to double-check the environmental benefits of organic farming.

For me, it’s important to know the story behind my food. Permaculturalist Nick Ritar suggests that ‘‘every bite of food is a reflection of your ethics’’.

‘‘That doesn’t mean becoming a food snob who is a pain in the arse at every dinner party, but it does mean that when you buy something, you exercise your power by taking the time to understand what you are giving your money to.’’ Organic food is grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers or pesticides. Instead, natural processes are embraced. Soil fertility is maintained using compost, crop rotation and manures. Weeds are controlled using mechanical cultivation, mulch and cover crops. Insect pests are kept at bay using a range of techniques including relying on ‘‘good bugs’’ to eat the ‘‘bad bugs’’.

Whether or not organic farming is better for the environment overall has been hotly debated for years. The focus of the debate has been on whether or not decreased yields from organic farms could have the unfortunate result of increasing the total area of land under agricultural production, resulting in more widespread deforestation and biodiversity loss, and thus undermining the environmental benefits of organic practices.

This argument is increasingly being dismissed as over-simplistic. Yields can be increased through improved farming practice and careful selection of varieties. Yield is also only one of many factors to consider when balancing the benefit of organic farming.

What is clear is that organic farms are better at protecting biodiversity than conventional farms. A recent study by Oxford University found that organic farms support 34per cent more plant, insect and animal species than conventional farms. It also found that the benefit was most pronounced for organic farms in intensively farmed regions and that small farms do a better job of protecting biodiversity. The benefit of organic farming was most pronounced for pollinators such as bees, with organic farms supporting 50per cent more pollinator species.

Pesticide use is having a particularly devastating impact on bees. Recent research from Harvard University has confirmed that pesticides, neonicotionoids in particular, are likely to be responsible for the massive colony collapse disorder happening in honey bees.

The environmental benefits of organic farming extend beyond biodiversity and bees. Conventional farming is dependent upon large amounts of inorganic fertiliser. The manufacture of synthetic fertilisers is energy-intensive, uses large amounts non-renewable natural gas and contributes greatly to greenhouse gas emissions. Synthetic fertilisers also dissolve in water more readily than organic fertilisers and can leach through the soil and pollute groundwater, nearby waterways and ultimately, the ocean.

So after wading through the recent literature, I’m confident that my preference for organic food isn’t misguided. My resolve to support small local sustainable farms is stronger than ever. Introducing organic farms into already intensively farmed landscapes can boost biodiversity, provide a pesticide-free haven for pollinators, and play a major role in halting the loss of biodiversity.

Tricia Hogbin shares tips for living better with less at littleecofootprints南京夜网 and on Instagram (TriciaEco)

Exemplary service calling to other men

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Camp Quality volunteer

FUN TIMES: Naite Skidmore, left, and Jordan Doran with long-term volunteer Denis Young. Picture: Lily Ray

DENIS Young has spent almost half of his 60years volunteering for Camp Quality.

The 60-year-old from Tenambit this month won Camp Quality’s Gillard Volunteer Award for his 24years of service. The award, named after one of Camp Quality’s longest-standing board members, is awarded to one person per state per year who is dedicated to helping children with cancer.

Mr Young was in his mid-30s with a good job, healthy family and comfortable life – in his words, ‘‘just pottering along’’ – when his life changed.

He was visiting a friend’s son who was living with a brain tumour when the child’s Camp Quality companion turned up.

‘‘This young bloke was of exceptional character,’’ said Mr Young.

‘‘I thought, ‘What a wonderful thing to see, a young guy at uni doing stuff like this’.

‘‘He made an impact on me, so I got in touch with the local Camp Quality office in Newcastle and never looked back.’’

Mr Young said the programs Camp Quality provide make a difference.

‘‘I’ve got physical proof that the services and programs provide many benefits for children and their family,’’ he said.

‘‘Going to my first camp, I didn’t know what to expect, but any fears or doubts I may have had just flew out the door when the kids arrived.

‘‘The kids just blew me away when I saw their happy and excited anticipation at arriving at camp.

‘‘It helps them forget the weekly grind of treatment and takes them away from that environment. It also gives mums and dads some relief.

‘‘You see how much fun they have rekindling friendships with kids they haven’t seen for months, or since the last camp, or treatment at the hospital.

‘‘It’s kids networking with other kids who have had similar issues.’’

Mr Young said another great part of the program was working with other volunteers and staff.

‘‘They’re just a really good bunch of people and so supportive of each other,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re good people to be around and they all come with the right motives and focus.’’

He said his family has been behind him 100per cent of the way.

‘‘I hope it’s helped with their development and understanding and how they approach life,’’ he said.

Since retiring four years ago from his job in Commercial Services at the University of Newcastle, Mr Young has been working in the local Camp Quality office at least one day a week on top of his other volunteering commitments.

‘‘Retirement has allowed me to do extra work for the organisation such as administrative tasks, volunteer recruitment and training, among other things,’’ he said.

He encourages more men to take part in the program as camp companions and volunteers.

‘‘It’s a very rewarding experience and after camp you connect with all the new people you’ve met,’’ he said. Volunteer adviser Tegan Davies said Mr Young was ‘‘a true superstar’’, and hoped he would inspire other men in the Hunter to step up and volunteer.

Female volunteers number 67, with males at just 31.

To register as a volunteer visit or phone (free call) 1300662267.

1000 people make whale outline on Shoal Bay beach

1000 people make whale outline on Shoal Bay beach Human Whale on Shoal Bay Beach on June 1. Pictures courtesy of Ray Alley.
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Human Whale on Shoal Bay Beach on June 1. Pictures courtesy of Ray Alley.

Human Whale on Shoal Bay Beach on June 1. Pictures courtesy of Ray Alley.

Human Whale on Shoal Bay Beach on June 1. Pictures courtesy of Ray Alley.

Human Whale on Shoal Bay Beach on June 1. Pictures courtesy of Ray Alley.

Human Whale on Shoal Bay Beach on June 1. Pictures courtesy of Ray Alley.

TweetFacebook Human Whale photo shootHuman Whale on Shoal Bay Beach on June 1. Pictures courtesy of Ray Alley.A HUMAN humpback slowly materialised on Shoal Bay Beach on Sundayas more than a thousand locals and tourists gathered to celebrate the end of whaling in the Southern Ocean.

For the second straight year, the human whale made for a spectacular sight from the skies on a reasonably clear day in Port Stephens.

Human whale co-ordinator Frank Future said an amalgamation of whale watching cruise operators gathered the masses to acknowledge the International Court of Justice’s ruling to ban the Japanese government from whaling in the Antarctic.

Last year, more than 600 people gathered on the beach to form a shape of a Humpback Whale to acknowledge 40 years since whales were last hunted in Australia.

Mr Future, the Imagine Cruises skipper, said the humpback population in waters off the east coast of Australia had boomed ever since, a rare conservation success story and something that should be celebrated.

‘‘We had a great turn-out, considering the forecast was for rain,’’ Mr Future said.

‘‘It’s a celebration of the fact that we still have whales, it’ one of the few success stories we can celebrate.

‘‘When I was a kid you never saw any whales, there was only 1800 humpbacks in waters of the east coast about 19 years ago.

‘‘Now there are nearly 20,000, which is about a 10 per cent annual increase.’’

Mr Future said the ‘‘peak run’’ of migrating whales was approaching, with hundreds expected to be spotted near the coast in the coming weeks.

The human whale was organised by Port Stephens Tourism and whale watching cruises Imagine, Moonshadow and Tamboi Queen.

‘‘We work together to promote whale watching, it’s important to Port Stephens tourism and injects more than $10 million to the port every winter,’’ he said.

Mr Future said there were plans to create a human whale every year in winter as the whale watching season begins.