Volunteer caretakers aren't a new concept for Bush Heritage but usually they hold down the fort while reserve staff take some well-earned leave. This year at Goonderoo, an unstaffed reserve in the Queensland brigalow belt, we've kicked off a rolling program that has volunteers filling one-month placements and taking very good care of this valuable property.
Here, the first volunteer of the year, Tom Sjolund, recounts his time spent with partner, Alison, at Goonderoo.
We live on the Central Queensland, Kinka Beach so, coming from sea breeze country to Brigalow belt was a bit of a climate shock.
Our first couple of weeks the temperature ranged from 37 – 41 degrees but we seemed to adapt fairly well, on one day the temperature on the front veranda went right up to 45.1 degrees.
The initial few days were spent cleaning up in and around the homestead, removing an old tank stand and installing another, then sorting out the tool shed and fixing up the stone BBQ.
During the hottest part of the day we'd try to find something useful to do inside, like analysing photos from the trap cameras at Avocet Reserve where the “Flashjacks” (bridled nailtail wallabies) live.
We were also experimenting with some mobile phones (generously donated by Bush Heritage volunteers) for use as video monitoring devises. There was a Spotted Bowerbird bower near the homestead and we placed a phone near the entrance. We got some great video recorded but were also able to watch it live. The little bird walked up to the phone and pecked at it – not too happy about being on TV!
Many days were spent checking cat traps but unfortunately no cats trapped.
Spraying for that horrible weed, parthenium, occupied many days. It’s a very hardy plant and I hope the spraying has had some success.
We can highly recommend becoming a Bush Heritage volunteer, we had a great time in the peaceful surrounds with birds and kangaroos as our close neighbours.