This year’s annual sampling trip saw us all back in the bus and on the road to Edgbaston again over the easter break. Six undergraduate students from the University of Queensland, myself and another PhD candidate from UQ, our resident artist and an outdoor educator.
As with past trips, one of our goals was to sample ~85 springs across Edgbaston Reserve to see how endemic spring plants and snails are moving about the landscape (see my previous post on our FIRST ever sampling trip). This year that was particularly important, as much of the property was flooded throughout the summer of 2016-2017 (and many endemic spring species are thought to use these floods to disperse across the desert landscape between springs). The iROOS also helped building fences to protect the Red-finned Blue-eye with Bush Heritage Australia’s Aquatic Ecologist Rob Wager, to populate the new artificial springs with endemic plants, and to help local custodian David ‘Cujo’ Coulton with other fencing projects across the property. We also had a great opportunity to talk up our work with Bush Heritage Australia’s media team and Ann from Offtrack on ABC Radio National.
We also loved seeing artist Shannon Murphy’s Red-finned Blue-eye sculpture completed on last years iROOS trip in its pride of place at the front gate. Shannon plans on continuing the legacy she has developed on Edgbaston, communicating about the importance of the site for biodiversity conservation through her art. Outdoor educator Beth Farrell is also currently throwing together some reflective interviews she did with the students from UQ about their experiences on Edgbaston.
As always, I would like to thanks Bush Heritage Australia, and particularly Leanne Hales, for facilitating the relationship between iROOS and Bush Heritage and financially supporting the trip, our department the School of Biological Science at UQ for loaning the cars and supporting the iROOS for the last 8 years. And MOST of all, Anine, Ben, Ethan, Laura, Gab, Hailey and Maddy for your helping hands, laughs, great attitudes, comments and questions, and your time. It means so much to us all!