AN UPDATE FROM FAUNA OFFICER JULIE SCHOFIELD
On Thursday 1 December, the first Green Army team to assist the Fleurieu Peninsula swamps and Emu-wren project graduated.
The tenacity of this team has been amazing. They have persevered through the wettest winter/spring on record on the Fleurieu and cleaned up areas of weeds that had been difficult for landholders to get to, including lots of Cape Broom and gorse.
The team provided the landholders and Swamps and Wren project team with information we would not have had otherwise. They braved the early morning hours to undertake mammal and reptile trapping and undertook weed mapping in challenging terrain and conditions in a swamp that has not been visited by the Swamps and Emu-wren team before.
The Green Army team was hosted by Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and lead by the amazing and enthusiastic team leader Doreen Marchesan. With her organisation and drive, Doreen has provided a great role model for the participants.
When Conservation SA first applied to partner with the Green Army team it was to support our Swamp project to investigate whether planning and implementing works across multiple connected swamps can result in better long-term ecological outcomes.
We were lacking important information, including the spread of weeds across the catchment and important animal or plant species that may occur, which was needed to effectively manage the Swamps.
The team helped us obtain that information and has shown that while money may have been stripped from the state and federal budgets there are still ways to get important conservation work done on properties.
Perhaps more importantly, the team has created positive relationships with the landholders, as well as achieving (or in some cases over-achieving) their targets, through their hard work and dedication.
This has given us a better understanding of biodiversity and weed issues in the target areas and hopefully given them a better knowledge about how to identify plants and animals.
I was particularly impressed to see the enthusiasm with which they went about the fauna trapping (a highlight that every team member mentioned during their graduation speech).
On behalf of the Swamps and Wren team and land holders, I would like to thank the Green Army Team for all their hard work and wish them all the best for their future journeys.
Thank you to CVA for hosting the program, Trees For Life, Peter Matejcic and the Field Naturalists Society of South Australia, Adelaide Mt Lofty Ranges NRM, and finally but not least the landholders for being involved and allowing the Green Army teams to work on their property.
The team gave some positive feedback about their time in the Green Army and the Swamps:
It really helped me develop skills necessary for working in conservation – Sam
Had a really great time working in a team dedicated and committed to saving the environment – Alexa
I really enjoyed learning about the local environment and learning about the different native wild flowers during my time with the green army. The skills I have learnt will help me with getting a job in conservation – Lauren
I really enjoyed giving back to the environment. Nature rocks!
It was really great doing my bit for the environment and helping out in anyway possible. The people you meet and the skills you develop are also really great – Adam
As someone who is passionate about the environment, I found it highly rewarding being part of the Green Army!! – Leon
Was a rewarding process of learning and transformation – Alex
I've learnt so much and been astounded at the diversity and difference between the swamps that we visited – Penelope
Glad I decided to do the green army, was a great experience – Mark
A poem by Alex, read out as his graduation speech:
Planet Earth 2016
Where are we now
And what does that mean?
Are we just
Floating in a collective meme
Our corporations just mean
Where is the dream?
Time, as the moment clicks by
Indigenous cultures threatened
By the ticking time bomb
On an industrial dream
Corroding the waters
That give life to the stream
Where to form now
Are we chasing the dollar
Milking the cash cow
Can we reinstate
A new value system
That restores our self
And the planet we live in
Time to make choices
As one green army marches out
We may not be warriors
We may not even count
But as self doubt
With Satisfaction of graduation
And as the frustration
Of a world unconsciously
Caught in an illusion
To reveal a new dawning day
A golden age can be foreseen
The earth we shall reclaim