Australian National Botanic Gardens staff member Sally Ingham has joined the Bush Blitz team on their latest expedition to Olkola, Cape York, Queensland. Sally shares her thoughts from the field with us.
As we wound down the track we had our first sighting of the Killarney homestead and the Bush Blitz base camp.
Wow, this is an impressive operation. There was a team of people, including rangers, traditional owners, some very helpful children, the catering team and the Bush Blitz crew who had been working hard to ensure everything was ready for the arrival of the scientists. The tents were up and the eating area ready for a hoard of hungry people. As soon as we arrived we heard about all of the different animals, insects, reptiles and spiders that had been seen around the homestead and where all the best spots for species collection might be.
The next day we had a briefing about how Bush Blitz would run and discussed the spectacular and remote parts of Cape York that we would be exploring over the next two weeks. tWe were lucky enough to hear about the history and culture of Olkola Country from Michael, an Olkola Elder who then welcomed us all to country at the nearby waterhole. It was a very special way to be welcomed to the area. It is an experience that will always stay with me.
The thing that has struck me most of all about Bush Blitz is its collaborative nature. There is a constant dialogue of knowledge sharing and learning from each other. Kids are excitedly pointing out insects for the scientists to identify, Olkola Elders, rangers and scientists are discussing all the possible and most diverse collecting spotsand assisting each other in the field. I have been completely blown away by Bush Blitz already and the best part is that it has only just begun.
Sally Ingham, Bush Blitz, Olkola, Cape York, Queensland
Bush Blitz is an innovative partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia. For more go to our website www.bushblitz.org.au