Having arrived on Charles Darwin Reserve three months ago from Sydney no-one could have ever prepared me for the beauty, the serenity or the summertime flies of this great part of Western Australia. I was joined by my wife Olivia and nine-month-old son Hamish a few weeks after arriving and we have since set about making the Charles Darwin Reserve homestead and the rest of the reserve feel like home.
The departure from Sydney has certainly not been a subtle one – Olivia has already had multiple encounters with fauna of the legless variety, and Hamish is happier than ever chasing chickens and playing in the red dirt around the homestead. However, with each star-filled sky and sunrise over Mt Singleton they are both falling more in love with the reserve.
From the moment I arrived on the reserve I was thrown in to all manner of environmental monitoring, pest management and other interesting tasks. The first of these was to release the new RHDV1K5 biocontrol to manage the feral rabbit population. From there the Charles Darwin Reserve calendar swung into gear and continued on to such things as:
- Spotlighting for fauna on set routes;
- Sand-pad monitoring to identify fauna through prints;
- A fauna handling course held at Charles Darwin Reserve by Central Region TAFE in collaboration with Bush Heritage and Conservation Council of WA;
- Fence removal to reduce the risk of injury to native fauna;
- Setting up cameras for photo monitoring as part of the cat baiting program;
- Distributing Eradicat® baits for the reserve's cat baiting program;
- Meeting and hosting campers at the camp ground;
- Digging a long drop at the camping ground (obviously a highlight); and
- Attending multiple meetings with groups such as the National Malleefowl Recovery Team and the Gundawa Regional Conservation Association.
All while getting to know the geography of the 68,000 hectare property and familiarising myself with the abundant native species of Charles Darwin Reserve. The second half of 2017 is shaping up to be even more action-packed!
It's of great comfort that during my time with Bush Heritage the organisation has proven to be all I'd hoped for and more. Considering the rigorous, science-based management that I've now seen first-hand it's not hard to understand where the outstanding Bush Heritage Australia record for conservation comes from.
It's also become obvious that without the work of our extensive team of passionate volunteers such a large contribution to the conservation effort would simply not be possible. I'd like to thank all the volunteers that have helped out on Charles Darwin Reserve.
It's hard to believe it's been three months already but I'd also like to thank all the Bush Heritage family (staff, volunteers and supporters) for being so supportive and making the first few months so interesting and inspiring for me and my family. I'm looking forward to the coming busy and productive years at Charles Darwin Reserve.