On the weekend after Easter, another group of St George schoolgirls made the trip to Lithgow to meet Wild Mob for a Wollemi camp. Ten girls and their teacher arrived on Saturday morning for the 1.5 hour trip out to Olinda. Once set up at the community hall, we had a walk up the mountain out the back to set up some infrared cameras to monitor both native and feral animals in the area. Pig diggings were seen on the way up the mountain so we were hoping to capture some of them on camera. What we got was very different: we captured wombats, wallabies, a mouse and some feral cats. We have not seen cats in this area before so it was good to tell the local farmers what we had found.
Day two was spent weeding the banks of the Cudgegong River where we have previously removed large amounts of blackberry. Now are tidying up much smaller infestations of things like Cineraria and Fleabane so we are winning the fight. That night was the damper competition on the campfire and we had some amazing tastings, with both a savoury and a sweet damper made by each group. The usual day was spent in the Wollemi Nation Park with some weeding around the campsite in the morning before a walk, lunch and a kayak on the Dunn’s Swamp (a dam on a beautiful river).
This trip was a little different to previous ones in that we spent the last night at Secret Creek sanctuary in Lithgow. We helped recover some materials to rebuild the bird aviary that was destroyed during construction in spring snow falls last year. This was hard but satisfying work and the girls were rewarded with a tour of the sanctuary where they watched the feeding of the animals and saw some Eastern Quolls, a carnivorous mammal that is now extinct on mainland Australia. On our last morning, we went for a walk on Australian Ecosystems Foundations land that we cleared a track on last time, where we also collected a hollow log for the Tasmania Devil enclosure. We then packed up camp and said our goodbyes.
It was another fantastic camp and we look forward to next year. Thanks once again to teacher Diane Duffy for organising the camp and the students. Also, this was Tim O’Reilly’s first time in the area and we look to adding to the bird list he compiled for Olinda on future camps.