On the 19th of January Wild Mob kicked off the first of three camps for the St George Girls High School for 2015. This camp was a Duke of Ed residential camp where the gold award participants complete some community work and spend time with new people.
There was no slowly getting into the swing of things on the first day this time as they were collected from the train station at Lithgow and taken straight to work at Secret Creek Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a part of the Australian Ecosystems Foundation where they are breeding the endangered Eastern Quolls among many other endangered and vulnerable animals.
The students had a quick lunch then off to work repairing and clearing tracks. The tracks have been closed from the bushfires in 2013 then the snow late last year and floods not long after leaving the tracks impassable. 1.5km of the 3km track was cleared and fixed up much to the delight of the foundation rangers.
After all the hard work it was feeding time for the animals in the sanctuary. Although many of the students were not keen on cutting up the rabbits to feed to the dingos there were plenty of herbivores to feed that everyone enjoyed. The students also got to see the flagship species of the sanctuary, the Eastern quoll and we all enjoyed the very informative chat from Trevor Evans from the foundation and the owner of the Sanctuary. I encourage anyone in the Lithgow area to go and see the sanctuary or even just go for a meal in the restaurant.
When we finally got to Olinda at 6:30pm and set up camp dinner was at 8:30 and soon after was bed for many, it was a huge day and set the tone for the week.
The rest of the week was spent at Olinda and in the Wollemi National Park. Infrared cameras were set up to catch native and feral animals around the area. Many wallaroos, wombats and an echidna were captured on tape but no feral animals although there were signs of cats up on some tracks. The students cleaned up the grounds around the hall and we made a trip to the local tip where everyone loved looking through the shop and some old records were even purchased.
The next day was another big day in at Dunns Swamp in the national park. It started with pulling out Cineraria around the campsite, a weed from South Africa, this was the first year it has been seen at the Swamp. Parks were very impressed with the amount of work the 16 people can get done in 1.5 hours, then off for a walk around the Swamp and back for a picnic lunch. The afternoons activities involved a kayak around the swamp and a swim which was enjoyed by all.
The final day at Olinda involved collecting the cameras, having a look around the shops in Rylstone then off to the farmers to watch him tag his calves and learn a little about where their meat comes from and how much work the farmers put in.
It was a great camp in all and everyone enjoyed their time. We can’t wait for the next one at Easter.