Flying into Roxby Downs, I looked down at the expanse of Lake Torrens from the air and thought……can a barren-looking place like that be home to any life at all? Since then, just two days in, I have been in awe of what I have seen, what is actually alive, and what scientists actually look for and can find.
On the first day, we drove from Roxby Downs to Andamooka Station (base camp) about an hour away. As we turned off the highway onto the red dirt at sunset, my first impressions were of a ‘larger than life’ version of the Red Centre Garden at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. I remember I was so excited to see my first Sturt Desert Pea in the middle of the road and even more so when I discovered a whole field of them the next day. The homestead itself, while empty for the last 10 years, has now been converted for the Bush Blitz expedition for environmentalists, expert scientists and BHP employees. It is fantastic to see the equipment on hand for science, safety, sanitation, sleeping – plus on the first night – schnitzels!
It was wonderful to be involved in the Bush Blitz partnership community day at the local Roxby Downs Lions Park today. We set up early this morning, a beautiful father’s day, with lots of Dads and kids eager to see what we were all about. We were joined by Arid Recovery who set up some extremely difficult guessing games – pick which mammal skin and a jar of little white round ‘things’… What were these things? A collection of rabbit eyeballs stumped myself and everyone else, kids and scientists alike (not easy)! Even more inspiring was the reason for why these little eyeballs were collected and examined in the first place… at this point you are probably dying to know what the eyeballs are for – sorry but I’m not making it that easy for you; you will have to research that for yourself!
In any case I’m sure we’ve began the journey of lots of budding little scientists.
By far my favorite part of the trip so far is actually listening and seeing other people’s daily highlights from the field. Insects, bugs, spiders, bees, plants, lizards, birds, rocks… the list goes on… Species discovery is so fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week to assist, explore, and discover – maybe even from the chopper?