Wild Mob and Silkwood School headed to Norfolk Island for a conservation adventure in late August 2015. For the students, it was a chance to explore a remote, spectacular island, and also contribute hours towards a Certificate III in Active Volunteering.
A beautiful day greeted the students on arrival, and after settling in, it was up to Mt Pitt for a view of the island. From this vantage point, we could gain an appreciation of the patchwork of cleared and forested areas we’d be passing through during the coming week. Our key conservation goal was the removal of weeds from areas of forest, allowing seedlings of native trees and shrubs to progress unhindered and ultimately shade out the exotics.
Our key conservation goal was the removal of weeds from areas of forest, allowing seedlings of native trees and shrubs to progress unhindered and ultimately shade out the exotics. Given the large number of endemic and/or threatened species on the island, this rehabilitation work has very high conservation value, and the students toiled admirably and amassed large piles of Coral Bush and Mile-a-Minute. An additional task the group took on was the removal of beach debris from Anson and Cemetery bays. The rubbish was sorted and analysed, and the results sent through to Tangaroa Blue Foundation to add to their database; this is believed to be the first such records for Norfolk.
Outside of work time, the group learnt about many aspects of the island and also had some time to enjoy its scenery and unique culture. The students discovered that basic tasks we take for granted on the mainland, such as managing waste and the delivery of goods such as groceries (and cars!), take on far greater complexity on a remote island with no harbour. Self-sufficiency is key where possible, and a visit to Farmer Lou’s fruit and vege farm (not to mention piggery, in which he harvests methane gas from effluent for recycling) was a highlight, and contributed to the abundance of fresh produce the generous locals provided for us during the week.
These outings were complemented by discussions on the history and flora and fauna of the island by local expert Marg Christian, a display of traditional Tahitian dancing by some local school students, a visit to the World Heritage-listed museums and even an insight into the workings of the local Bureau of Meteorology. And of course there was other fun stuff like swimming and snorkelling, hiking and shopping (the op shop and confectionary store were particular favourites!).
By the week’s end, the students had enjoyed a fantastic cross-section of what Norfolk has to offer, and along the way made a valuable contribution to the 4Cs on the island. The combination of learning, enjoying and contributing made for a satisfying experience that will stay with them for years to come.