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First it was lizards ... South Canterbury researcher Hermann Frank examines limestone formations that will feature in a South Canterbury Museum exhibit. PHOTO: HERMANN FRANK

by Greta Yeoman

Limestone outcrops in South Canterbury are the focus of a new South Canterbury Museum exhibition.

The “Landscape of Dreams” exhibition opens today and features images of South Canterbury limestone landscapes, along with the plants and creatures that live in the stone structures, museum director Philip Howe says.

The display includes information and photos from longtime South Canterbury environmental researcher Hermann Frank.

Mr Frank began surveying lizards living in limestone forms in 2009, after receiving a year-long research fellowship when he was teaching.

The now-retired teacher and Forest&Bird member said he now had more time to survey the creatures, plants and rock forms.

Since he began researching the lizards living in the limestone almost a decade go,
he had looked at the several endemic plant species living in the stone outcrops, as well as the limestone itself.

Mr Howe said the exhibition is both historical and scientific and provides people with more information about the environmental creations that most South Canterbury residents would know little about.

“Most people may have spent a little bit of time [looking at limestone structures].”

Along with the creatures and plants living in the limestone there were other important historical aspects of the rocks, including fossils and Maori rock art carved into limestone, Mr Howe said.

The exhibition includes a slideshow of Mr Frank’s photos of the limestone outcrops, large images of the plants and animals living in the area, and plenty of information – plus several large pieces of limestone, he said.

“From a museum point of view, it’s about both art and science.”

It incorporated the art of Mr Frank’s photography and the science of his research, Mr Howe said.

“[They are] fantastic images.”

The “Landscape of Dreams” exhibition by Hermann Frank will run from July 28 to October 14 at South Canterbury Museum, Perth St, Timaru.