My second week of voluneering consisted of a mixture of things. More vegetation work, a beach clean where we collected 23kg of rubbish, setting up the bettong traps at Davies Creek, yellow crazy any monitoring and on Friday we planted 250 trees! My favourite was probably the yellow crazy ant work. These are known as “tramp ants” as they are overpopulated and detrimental to the environment as they kill all the other ants by spraying acid on them (I have felt this first hand, it’s pretty sore) which just melts the other ants, quite a brutal way to die. We had to monitor them in certain areas, which consisted of walking around with a squeeze tube of jam mixed with tuna which we had to place on the ground next to small flags, note the GPS coordinates on our devices then later on go back and count how many yellow crazy ants had been attracted to the spot and occasionally taking specimens. Thankfully we found none, meaning the farm land we did it on is safe from tramp ants and we could tell the council there is no need to spray the area. The picture below is of a green ant I found. Aboriginals actually used to eat these as apparently their lower body has a sweet taste. I did not test this theory.
And here is a picture of a sweet hut someone had built on the beach where we were cleaning.
The following week was a change of scenery from Cairns as we had to camp in Weary Bay near the town of Ayton, a 4 hour drive away from any emergency services and with no signal for miles. The journey there was pretty crazy as even in a truck we struggled to get through 3 creeks and the terrain was crazy. It really was the middle of nowhere. It was good to get away from civilisation though and you could see just about every single star in the sky at night. Our project here was 4 days of beach cleaning on various sites. We did this with a company called tangoroa blue, founded 11 years ago to help clean up marine debris across Australia. They rely on volunteers like us to continue their work.
Some things were pretty disgusting, human nappies etc but you occasionally found something quite cool. We even found a whole DVD player. Once we collected all the rubbish each day we had to sort it into different categories, e.g. Plastics, rubber, any recyclables, personal care etc. Some bottles from abroad allowed us to note their bar code so we could track where they came from. We are not sure of the exact volume of rubbish our project collected yet but if you are interested Tangoroa blue have a website and they will post the results of our project once they have collated the information.
The work was hard and hot but it had its perks as we were working in remote locations that even tourists can’t get to. I have one week of volunteering left as I leave on Friday and I can’t believe it’s gone by so quick!