Field trip to Bowra Sanctuary with 3rd year Ecology students
Two members of our team, Prof. Hamish McCallum and Dr. Laura Grogan recently returned from a week-long field trip out to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy's Bowra Sanctuary (approximately 9 hours drive due west of Brisbane, in the Mulga rangelands).
They were part of a four staff-member team (including Dr. Guy Castley, course convenor, and Christina Kindermann, who recently submitted her PhD thesis), supporting 26 3rd-year students doing mini research projects as part of the Science Capstone course (3992SCG) and the old Wildlife Ecology Field Course (3608ENV).
Bowra Sanctuary had recently received an unusual amount of precipitation for this time of year, so there was a lot of standing water, and it was a rare treat to see the ground covered with wildflowers and emerged burrowing frogs in the rain!
The weather was mostly excellent for our stay, however, and by the end of the week the roads had dried enough for a group picnic out at Gumholes billabong.
The students were very dedicated, setting up and checking their pitfall-traps with drift fences for reptiles; Elliot-traps for small mammals; bait-stations, sand-plots and camera-traps for a 'giving-up-density' project; performing habitat and vegetation surveys; and otherwise laying transects for sighting and spotlighting birds, frogs and large mammals.
The catering team led by Chris were brilliant and kept everyone fed and happy all week.
Well done for a great effort all round!