On Monday the 18th September, Mustard and I are joining 17 other scientists on a scientific expedition like no other. We are off on our very first Bush Blitz! Bush Blitz is an innovative partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia. It is the world’s first continent-scale biodiversity survey, providing the knowledge needed to help us protect Australia’s unique animals and plants for generations to come. The program has been running since 2010, and brings together scientists to survey understudied areas of the country and learn about the plants and animals that live there.There have already been over 1300 new species discovered on Bush Blitzs! Maybe we'll discover a new species of wasp!
This time, we're headed out to Mamungari Conservation Park, right on the border of South Australian and Western Australia.
Myself, Mustard and a colleague will fly from Adelaide to Ceduna, where we'll meet some other scientists, pick up some awesome 4WDs and convoy to base camp at the conservation park. We'll join botanists (plant scientists), mammal and reptile scientists, entomologists and arachnologists (people who study arachnids like spiders and scorpions) and spend two weeks trying to learn as much about the biodiversity of the area as we can. We'll get to work with the traditional owners of the land and local rangers, which will be amazing - and we'll even get to visit the nearest school (3 hours away) and say hi to the community. The Conservation Park is really in the middle of nowhere. The organisers will truck in fuel, water and tents for us to sleep in, we'll build pit toilets there, and we get to shower from a bag of water. This is probably not the time to mention I've been camping a grand total of twice in my life, am terrible at successfully peeing behind bushes and that the fact I won't have access to internet or phone signal for two weeks is embarrassingly scary... but the adventure and contribution we'll make to learning about our wonderful plants and animals will make it all worthwhile!
We're busy getting organised (new boots and net already acquired, refresher manual driving lesson taken and passed) and also finishing off some data analysis to be able to present some results at a conference in Canberra. We won't be able to post much whilst we're on Bush Blitz (the no-internet thing) but we'll take heaps of photos and videos and will make a series of posts to share it all with you when we get back! Stay tuned!