Autumn sampling trip

Every year we have at least three field trips, with the main ones occurring in March, July, and November. March 2016 is here, so it is time for our Autumn sampling trip! The weather can get up to 45 degrees C but the March trips are great for reptiles, and there are always lots of mammals active in the area.

To get us in the desert mood here are some reflections on last November's trip from volunteers Aly and Ben: 

 

Aly:

What was your favourite flora or fauna moment?

Working hands on with an endangered marsupial.

What did you find challenging about your experience?

The hot dry climate is unbelievably hard to work in, and requires constant consideration. You always have to be aware of water and shade and your condition as well as that of the people you work with.

Has your time volunteering affected/challenged your perspective of the Australian landscape?

I still think Australia is beautiful and dangerous - I just have more experience of it now.

What have you taken away from your experience?

Invaluable skills and experience working in arid Australia.

Would you recommend it to your friends?

Not all of them. Working in tough conditions isn't the kind of thing anyone could do.

 

Ben:

What was your favourite flora or fauna moment?

My favourite flora or fauna moment was when we found the elusive Mulgara, a species that had not previously been recorded in the areas we were surveying.  Additionally, finding a second one in an Elliot Trap, and thinking, “wow, this Trap seems a bit heavy and that thing inside doesn’t look like a Hopping Mouse”, was an added bonus.

What did you find challenging about your experience? How did you deal with these issues?

I found the heat and dry air challenging, since you’re on your feet for 6-8 hours a day in 45 degrees. We dealt with this by resting almost every 20 minutes, in the cool(ish) shade of the Ute, and drinking an inordinate amount of warm water.

What did you enjoy most?

Kangaroo and Dingo spotlighting were definitely a highlight (pun intended). Additionally, coming back to base camp after a hard working day and having a cold drink whilst watching the sunset became somewhat of a nirvana.

Has your time volunteering affected/challenged your perspective of the Australian landscape?

My perspective has definitely changed since volunteering. I see the landscape as place of beauty, and I continually wonder at the life that is found in such harsh terrain. This is especially apparent when you hit the semi-arid and arid areas, where vegetation is barely 1.5 metres tall, and there is minimal ground cover. You see sweeping dunes and rocky outcrops interspersed with maybe a few cattle here and there, and depending on which side of the fence you drive on, kangaroos and emus running rampant; especially with their little flocks of emu babies.

What have you taken away from your experience?

I’ve had real hands-on learning about how to properly conduct ecological trapping and vegetation surveys. I think this is invaluable, as this type of work is highly specialized.

Would you recommend it to your friends?

I would absolutely recommend this to my friends, but I would prepare them by saying that you have to be mentally ready for such an experience.

 

Aly and Ben were both fabulous volunteers and we'd like to thank them for all their hard work!

 

Cheers and have a good March!

PS. We are always looking for quality volunteers for these trips! To be kept updated on volunteer opportunities follow the links on this page: http://www.bees.unsw.edu.au/volunteer-opportunities.

Project: 
Biodiversity sampling in Strzelecki Regional Reserve
Go to top