We were joined by Reserve Manager Phil Palmer and Field Officer Brett Peden who inducted us to the site and got us set up for our work. Scottsdale is a great property with a diverse range of programs to restore the native flora and fauna.
Most of our visit focused on treating Serrated Tussock – one of the most troublesome weeds of south eastern Australia. With its wind-blown seed the 'Terrible Tussock' has a way of getting into every corner of the property, so the treatment program covers everywhere from the lowland paddocks to the ‘high country’. Most of our time was spent in the hills. After testing our advanced driving skills at the ‘Jenny Craig’ gate, the Apple Box woodland offered some spectacular views across the Monaro.
Altogether we treated just over 10 hectares of high country, zig-zagging our way through and making sure there were no plants missed. The most encouraging aspect of our work was seeing evidence that we're winning the war against tussock on the high country (although there’s still plenty to do). We encountered large patches of dead tussock where previous volunteers had worked and generally we found only limited new tussock returning in these areas. The native grasses and flowers are returning and mostly our efforts were needed along creeklines and in steeper country, which previous teams hadn’t reached to date.
One of the nicest areas we treated was ‘the knoll’, an isolated piece of rock perched right above the Murrumbidgee. It was a great place to spray the tussock amongst the big old Apple Box while the Wedge-tailed Eagles took advantage of the thermals along the cliffs, and lunch at the lookout was a treat. There’s still a few days work needed around the knoll in areas that have never been treated, so if you have some spare time this winter why not come down and volunteer yourself?
We also took some breaks from Tussock spraying to help with the fox baiting, which has certainly reduced the fox numbers, and to help the builders with the construction of the new nursery, which is already starting to take shape.
All in all it was a great opportunity and we’d love to come back. Winter is certainly chilly (-2°C inside) but with good company and a warm fire it’s a great time of year to visit the reserve.
If you'd like to find out more about volunteering on our Scottsdale reserve, please submit your expression of interest on the volunteering page at our website.