Kakadu’s Junior Rangers are an intrepid crew of 11 and 12 year olds from the nearby schools in Jabiru, Pine Creek and Gunbalanya. The Junior Ranger program is part of their school curriculum, giving them their first hands-on taste of ranger work in the park.
Year 6 student Campbell Temperley is one of these fearless explorers. Because of his keen interest, he and his mum had the opportunity to volunteer on a research trip in the park recently. This is his eye witness account.
I was lucky enough to be invited by Kakadu National Park to go on a fauna survey with Terry and Stuart from the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation, and Sarah a ranger with Kakadu National Park. Stuart showed me the types of traps used to catch small mammals and reptiles.
We went out and checked the traps. My favourite was the bucket traps because they were designed to catch reptiles. In one bucket trap we caught two Burton’s snake-lizards (also known as Burton’s legless lizards), a scorpion and a centipede. In other bucket traps we caught a type of ground gecko called a Bynoe’s gecko, a trapdoor spider and two centipedes. Unfortunately we didn’t find any small mammals on that day of the survey, but they caught some the day before.
We had to do some tests like the ‘funny walk’ which is walking 100 paces in one direction and recording the ground cover at each step. These tests help to record the habitat found at the trap site.
Campbell Temperley, Kakadu Junior Ranger
Year 6 student, West Arnhem College – Jabiru Campus