Sand pad Monitoring at Eurardy: Why we volunteer

Published 07 Dec 2015 
by Len and Valerie Warren 
about  Eurardy Reserve  
Ecologist Vanessa Westcott and Valerie identifying tracks on the sandpad.<br/> Ecologist Vanessa Westcott and Valerie identifying tracks on the sandpad.
Len and Valerie taking a hard earned break.<br/> Len and Valerie taking a hard earned break.
Valerie and Ben preparing the sandpad.<br/> Valerie and Ben preparing the sandpad.
Len and Valerie's Grandson Ben learning the ropes.<br/> Len and Valerie's Grandson Ben learning the ropes.
Len putting in a marker.<br/> Len putting in a marker.
Valerie Warren, ignoring flies.<br/> Valerie Warren, ignoring flies.

Len and Valerie Warren are long-term Bush Heritage volunteers in the west. In addition to helping at Charles Darwin Reserve four times a year, they drive eight hours north to Eurardy Station Reserve to conduct sand pad monitoring.

This is a tiring and repetitive task that involves sweeping pads of sand at regular intervals along a track of road, checking for animal tracks early each morning and re-setting them over the course of a week.

This is an important part of our ecological monitoring program. It provides an indication of the presence or absence of key native and introduced species.

Having consistent eyes checking the pads is invaluable and we're fotunate in the West to have Len and Valerie running the program at Eurardy and Brian Crute running it at Charles Darwin Reserve.

I asked Len and Valerie what motivates them and why they do it? This was their response:

Why do we do it? The simple answer to that question is that we love being out in the bush, and achieving something useful while we're there makes it seem more worthwhile. It's also keeping us mentally and physically fit.

When the opportunity to do this job was offered, we'd already had a long association with Charles Darwin Reserve and we knew Eurardy was struggling to get volunteers because it's that much further from Perth. We felt that going to Eurardy three or four times a year would give us the opportunity to get to know the property better and also supply us with a good excuse for going bush on a regular basis.

The job appealed because Valerie in particular has always taken an interest in tracking and it was an opportunity to learn more about it. As time goes on we're getting better at it and both ecologist Vanessa Westcott and resident manager Ian Hamilton have been valuable instructors.

Observing how the monitoring results change with the seasons is interesting and, even though it can be frustrating if it rains for several days while we're there, preventing us from achieving what we'd driven so far to accomplish, there are always other compensations.

Sand-pad monitoring has also given us the chance to get to know the new resident manager at Eurardy, Ben Parkhurst, and his wife Tina Schroeder. Bush Heritage staff are always wonderful, enthusiastic people and not only do we learn from them but we've also made some good friends.

We've enjoyed swapping notes with the volunteer at Charles Darwin Reserve, Brian Crute, who is doing sand-pad monitoring there as well.

How lucky can you be!?

Len and Valerie taking a hard earned break.<br/> Len and Valerie taking a hard earned break.
Valerie and Ben preparing the sandpad.<br/> Valerie and Ben preparing the sandpad.
Len and Valerie's Grandson Ben learning the ropes.<br/> Len and Valerie's Grandson Ben learning the ropes.
Len putting in a marker.<br/> Len putting in a marker.
Valerie Warren, ignoring flies.<br/> Valerie Warren, ignoring flies.