Interns try their hand at ...pretty much everything!

Clem Daw, Laura Williams, Jen French and Laura Fowler working in the herbarium compactus | Photo Carl Davies CSIRO

Laura meets the locals on a field trip to look at vegetation rehabilitation in the Harden district.

It was a jam-packed summer holiday involving field-work, team projects and personal assignments for me and nine other interns on the seven-week Student Volunteer Botanical Internship Program.

Based at the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research there was first-hand experience of working in our nation’s herbarium mounting specimens and collecting DNA samples from acacias - pretty exciting considering this collection contains specimens collected by Joseph Banks on Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia in 1770!

The field trip to Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens was great for a girl from South Australia – allowing me exposure to East Coast plant communities. Plus there was invaluable insight into the everyday work of weed control, prescribed burning, joint park management and bush tucker.

It was great to get so close to animals you would never normally get the opportunity to see, even if at the Australian Wildlife Collection at CSIRO they were skinned, stuffed or skeletonised. The trays of fairy wrens, budgies and eggs were fascinating and had a real beauty.

But it wasn’t all talks and assignments. The field trips were a good opportunity to get to know the other interns and staff better and there was more wildlife to spot with some snorkelling at the beach - where I caught sight of a wobbegong!

Now to decide if I want to do more study or start looking for a job….

Laura, Kangaroo Island

The Student Volunteer Botanical Internship Program is in its 20th year.  Find out more about the program here.

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