Simon (sanctuary manager) took me through health and safety first up this morning and then talked in-depth about the journey that the Rotokare Scenic Trust has taken thus far to become pest free. Although I have been involved with the education programmes at the lake since I started at Rawhitiroa school, and thought I had a good understanding of what had been done, it was fascinating to hear it with my 'science ears.' Simon gave me a report on pest eradication to look at which I promptly went and read.
I then spent some time with Melissa (environmental educator and weta guru.) Melissa and I talked a lot about the weta and lizard monitoring that I am going to undertake.
She left me with a huge pile of things to read about weta and lizards, including her own thesis that she wrote while do her honours course.
Fascinating stuff!! I feel like a weta expert already. I really surprised myself when I found I was taking notes, joting down questions to ask and making a list of words I wanted to know the meaning of! (communicating in science!)
Later in the morning I had a tour of the shed and ops room with Chauncy (Site manager and resident mountain goat.) It was cool listening to Chauncy talk about where things are, what they are used for and when things take place. Already I have been able to link things that Simon talked about this morning with things that Chauncy said.
This afternoon I jumped at the chance of going out with Chauncy to collect cards from the tracking tunnels along part of the fence line.
I under estimated the heat of the day! Man was it hot. Too hot to take photos :( will get back up there soon and take some.
The tracking tunnel cards are collected and changed once a week. These tunnels are approximately 50-100 metres apart along the fence line and are used to show what creatures are in the vicinity. They could possibly show- ants, weta, geckos, skinks, mice, rats, frogs etc...
I would feel a hit of adrenalin when we would pull a card out of the tunnel! Would it show anything?
'Nothing' is a great find... a concept that when I thought about it makes total sense.
I will take photos of these next week and post on here.
Although almost dying of heat exhaustion from being out in the sun all afternoon, it was a great afternoon to get to know Chauncy and learn about his journey to Rotokare. Working for DOC everywhere from Raoul Island, to Stewart Island and quite a few places in between.
Already after just one day I can see that the team I am going to be working with are incredibly dedicated to their jobs, the sanctuary and conservation as a whole.
I think I will dedicate a whole post to the predator proof fence- after today I have a new found respect for the fence, the dedication to getting it put up and the on-going part that it plays in the day to day running of the sanctuary.
Roll on day 2!
Thanks Melissa for taking this photo for me. Needed a photo to accompany my profile on the Royal Society Website, Mel wanted one to go on the Rotokare facebook page as well as in their next education newsletter. I think I will be having my 5 minutes of fame later this week!