On Friday 22nd September, on a beautiful warm and sunny, morning PCL officers travelled to Sandringham Bay Conservation Park to meet 10 Aurecon staff for a day of corporate volunteering. The day had been organised as a way of Aurecon giving back to the community by volunteering their time to a conservation project.
Sandringham Bay was chosen as the location due to its endangered regional ecosystems 8.3.2 (Melaleuca viridiflora woodland on seasonally inundated alluvial plains with impeded drainage) and 8.1.4 (Schoenoplectus subulatus and/or Eleocharis dulcis sedgeland or Paspalum vaginatum tussock grassland), as well as being important habitat for the Mangrove Mouse (Xeromys myoides).
The day started with a meet and greet of the volunteers from Aurecon and a review of safety paperwork including risk assessments, safe work method statements and a conversation around safety on the site. Once completed we ventured into the forest and began a walk and talk. PCL officers Angus, Danny and Donna introduced the site and its importance to the group, and included some of the history of the reserve before and after it was gazetted in the early 2000’s, and its threats such a feral animals, litter, weed incursion and what this means for the fragile ecosystem. Angus gave a series of short talks on bush tucker plants, what life is supported by the 3 regional ecosystems present in Sandringham Bay Conservation Park, specific plant species, threats to and impact on the land from driving 4WD’s, erosion and seasonal bird life. Danny talked about the Mangrove Mouse project, the way PCL will be monitoring the mouse, the previous studies completed by PCL, importance of the data collected and how it will inform Queens land Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) on their controlled burns and feral animal control. Donna completed the site introduction and history, and why we were on site at Sandringham, what we hoped to achieve with the volunteer group and how community engagement and involvement are so important in conservation efforts.
After the walk and talk the group split into hand weeders, snipper operators, litter pickers, seed collectors for the next 2 hours of work. With the help of Aurecon volunteers, we achieved:
· 25 bin bags full of Singapore Daisy
· 4 bin bags full of rubbish
· Bags of seeds for the MNEC nursery
· Control of a large area of Guinea Grass
· Removal of most of a large patch of Singapore Daisy at the entrance to the reserve.
At the end of the volunteering, Aurecon kindly put on a BBQ lunch for everyone and donated 2 Browning Trail Cameras to assist PCL with the Mangrove Mouse monitoring and surveys.
Massive shout out to Tim Dalton from Aurecon who arranged the volunteers in support of PCL, to all the volunteers who made such a big difference on the day to the conservation efforts in the Park, and to Aurecon who have donated the trail cameras – honestly we couldn’t do it without you!!! Thanks for an amazing day!