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.
On my first full day at camp I headed out into the field with two of the scientists, John ‘The Snail Whisperer’ Stanisic from the University of Queensland and Darren Crayn from the Australian Tropical Herbarium.
Our mission was to collect samples from an area that had some damp valleys and plateaus with a variety of vegetation types.
The vastness of the area was amazing – it seemed like it went on forever! There was savannah woodlands as far as the eye could see, and a few waterholes and a variety of tracks were scattered over the land.
We set off on foot to explore. It wasn’t long before we came to a valley and a completely different environment – the landscape changed from dry savannah to damp gallery forest, we climbed over the large boulders and up the gully. We looked in awe at the large sandstone cliffs and rocks and then headed in different directions to look at the plant and snail diversity.
I went with John to collect snails near the sandstone cliffs – looking through the leaf litter, peering into cavernous sandstone shelves, and working our way up and down the gully’s edges. I learned about how fire affects snail habitat and how snail shells differ.
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