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My happy place (Katrina Blake)

Published 14 Jun 2022 

Katrina Blake, Events and Visitation Manager,  at Nardoo Hills, Dja Dja Wurrung Country, Vic. By Annette Ruzicka.
Katrina Blake, Events and Visitation Manager, at Nardoo Hills, Dja Dja Wurrung Country, Vic. By Annette Ruzicka.

Katrina Blake

Events and Visitation Manager

I am going to be controversial here and say that my happy place is being on country, period.

Since I began working at Bush Heritage in 2005, I have had the privilege of visiting all but a few reserves (just our new ones to go!).

I have run supporter trips ranging from one day wanders to five-day remote camping trips. I have stepped in as caretaker at places such as Boolcoomatta, Naree and Bon Bon when reserve managers have been on holidays.

I’ve seen rugged ridgelines, ancient Red Gums and rolling dunes; watched the sun rise up in early morning skies and set across many vast plains; and even heard the call of the Night Parrot.

But what defines each memory, is the unique experience each place presents and the people I have shared them with.

On one of my very first trips, to Ethabuka Reserve on Wangkamadla country in remote Queensland, we got rained in. 128mm fell in the 24 hours following our first night – a group of 12 supporters and three staff, paying witness to a land transforming before our eyes. There was no way out until things dried up, so it was an exciting time.

Within days, bright green foliage was carpeting the barren ground, waterholes and claypans filled and Shield Shrimp and frogs emerged. We watched in awe, wondering, ‘Where the heck did it all come from?’

The rain, while inconvenient, allowed us to see Ethabuka up close and personal, and what a sight!

On country, there’s always a new track to explore or a place to wander. Be it a moment of solitude in the early morning light, when the air is crisp, and you have the place to yourself. Or an afternoon stroll with ecologists or volunteers, pausing constantly to get out your ‘binos’ (binoculars) to spy on a bird, search for movement or just scan the distant horizon.

Time unfolds at its own pace and many a story is told – on tracks, under stars and by campfires – these stories and travels have formed lifelong connections for me. Connections to people and nature, all which are part of my happy place.