Green Army digging trenches for Bon Bon

Published 23 Mar 2017 
by Guy Nelson - Green Army Supervisor for Roxby Downs 
about  Bon Bon Station Reserve  
Bon Bon Field Officer Kate Taylor and Green Army participant Tyler Stephens mark a Lerista to monitor recaptures.<br/> Bon Bon Field Officer Kate Taylor and Green Army participant Tyler Stephens mark a Lerista to monitor recaptures.
 A fledgling Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) with some down feathers still wary about its first time leaving the nest. <br/> A fledgling Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) with some down feathers still wary about its first time leaving the nest.
A Fat-tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) pops its head out to say hello while we process him. <br/> A Fat-tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) pops its head out to say hello while we process him.
Green Army participants Georgia Greenfield and Tyler Stephens weighing one of the captures.<br/> Green Army participants Georgia Greenfield and Tyler Stephens weighing one of the captures.
A common capture in our pitfall traps but still, stunningly beautiful nonetheless. Beaded Gecko (Lucasium damaeum)<br/> A common capture in our pitfall traps but still, stunningly beautiful nonetheless. Beaded Gecko (Lucasium damaeum)
A Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus ciliaris) poking out his tongue shortly after release. Geckos can’t blink so they use their tongues to moisten and clean their eyes. Note the beautiful black spots and eyelashes.<br/> A Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus ciliaris) poking out his tongue shortly after release. Geckos can’t blink so they use their tongues to moisten and clean their eyes. Note the beautiful black spots and eyelashes.
Jan’s Desert banded snake (Simoselaps bertholdi) posing for a photo.  Another new record for Bon Bon. <br/> Jan’s Desert banded snake (Simoselaps bertholdi) posing for a photo. Another new record for Bon Bon.

I work in the mid-north of South Australia as a supervisor/team leader for a company called Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) with a green army government program. Part of my job is to ensure the youth who participate, gain skills necessary for them to gain further employment, but that isn’t all. It’s also my responsibility to ensure that this team gets a better understanding of conservation and the importance of the work they participate in.

That's why when Bon Bon Station Reserve Field Officer, Kate Taylor and Ecologist, Aaron Fenner approached me about my team helping them with some work we jumped at the opportunity. Not only would we have the chance to gain knowledge and experience from two seasoned individuals, our team would be helping with important work while observing animals they'd never seen before.

We helped at Bon Bon for two weeks, with the aim of determining animal diversity before new predator controls were introduced to the reserve. The first week we set up trapping sites, dug in pit-fall traps and trenches for the netting fences.

We also got to travel around the huge property, taking in the unique landforms and bird life, which included South Australia's only endemic bird – the Chestnut-breasted White Face. The team and I also got the opportunity to observe three fledgling Collared Sparrowhawks take their first flight from the nest.

The second week turned out to be the highlight. After all our hard work digging and preparing traps the first week we got to reap the fruits of our labour. My team and I observed and handled some creatures that some people will never see. These included Bolam’s mice (Pseudomys bolami), Fat-tailed Dunnarts (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) and the Jan’s Desert Banded Snake (Simoselaps bertholdi) among many other wonderful mammals and reptiles.

Green Army team member, Tyler Stephens said “My experience with the Green Army at Bon Bon was great fun. The first week was hard work but the second week was the best! This was because of all the different animals we found in the traps and we got to participate and handle some of these animals. Learning how to enter data and take measurements was fun and interesting."

 A fledgling Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) with some down feathers still wary about its first time leaving the nest. <br/> A fledgling Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) with some down feathers still wary about its first time leaving the nest.
A Fat-tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) pops its head out to say hello while we process him. <br/> A Fat-tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) pops its head out to say hello while we process him.
Green Army participants Georgia Greenfield and Tyler Stephens weighing one of the captures.<br/> Green Army participants Georgia Greenfield and Tyler Stephens weighing one of the captures.
A common capture in our pitfall traps but still, stunningly beautiful nonetheless. Beaded Gecko (Lucasium damaeum)<br/> A common capture in our pitfall traps but still, stunningly beautiful nonetheless. Beaded Gecko (Lucasium damaeum)
A Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus ciliaris) poking out his tongue shortly after release. Geckos can’t blink so they use their tongues to moisten and clean their eyes. Note the beautiful black spots and eyelashes.<br/> A Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus ciliaris) poking out his tongue shortly after release. Geckos can’t blink so they use their tongues to moisten and clean their eyes. Note the beautiful black spots and eyelashes.
Jan’s Desert banded snake (Simoselaps bertholdi) posing for a photo.  Another new record for Bon Bon. <br/> Jan’s Desert banded snake (Simoselaps bertholdi) posing for a photo. Another new record for Bon Bon.