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The second week of the July holidays saw 14 of our Bush Ranger Cadets and 6 Instructors travel to the Pilbara to work with the Rangers of Millstream-Chichester National Park.
It was a 3 day journey to get there and a 3 day journey home, and a magnificent experience for the whole group.
Our Cadets were hosted by the Department of Parks & Wildlife Rangers at Millstream, where we got to live for a week in their shoes, learn from them, and in return we participated in a range of environmental tasks to help their management of the park.
The Cadets had a tour of the Homestead and the Millstream Delta, learning of the importance of the underground water source not only to the local Yindjibarndi people, but also the establishment of mining in the Pilbara in the 1960's and 70's, with its resulting effect of the WA and Australian economy.
We collected moths at night, which will be sent to Canada as part of an international DNA project. And given the diversity of insects in Millstream, there is every likelihood of a new species amongst our haul.
We also took on the Passion Vine, an invasive weed species making its presence known increasingly over the park.
The Cadets killed Passion Vine around Deep Reach and Cliff Lookout, as well as around the camping areas near the Homestead and throughout the Delta.
A friendly competition between our two teams over two afternoons saw almost 3,000 of these plants dealt with.
Millstream-Chichester National Park is absolutely spectacular from every angle and I thoroughly enjoyed traveling around the park. I really enjoyed bonding and making stronger friendships with my peers, teachers and instructors ... this trip has inspired me to plan future trips up north and explore
Our major project, however, was one of Millstreams most spectacular features, Jindawurrinanha Pool.
Past residents of the Homestead had introduced water lilies and the Indian Water Fern to this beautiful pool of water, but unfortunately they grow to plague proportions in the thermally heated water, covering the surface.
Our Cadets spent 4 days clearing hundreds of kilograms of these weeds from the pool, using snorkels, canoes and muscle power to complete a seemingly impossible task.
Our end result, satisfyingly, was a beautiful pool of water reflecting the bush beyond and free of weeds.
The pool is an important place for the Yindjibarndi, as both an ancient meeting place and a rain making site.
We had heard the stories, and during our work discovered the long-thought lost underwater termite mound seen as an important part of these rituals.
Our video footage will be shown to the Yindjibarndi elders in the coming weeks.
The Pool was amazing. The water was so clear ... the lily pads under water made you feel like you were in a fantasy world. I learnt so much ... I will remember Millstream
Many congratulations to our hard working cadets, who gave up their holidays to volunteer and help out in the management of the Millstream-Chichester National Park.
In return they learnt much about teamwork, leadership, aboriginal culture, environmental management, logistics, interpersonal relationships, hard work, the wonders of the natural world and about themselves.
It was truly the trip of a lifetime.
Our thanks to Neil and the other Ranger staff for their hospitality ... our Cadet Unit will return again soon!
This was an amazing trip with memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
The trip would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of our Instructors - Mr Lazarov, Miss Rowe, Miss Bell, as well as Colin, Phil and Andrew the Chaplain.
A promo for our Bush Ranger Cadet Unit's visit to Millstream-Chichester National Park in the Pilbara in July 2015.
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Mount Lawley Senior High School aims to maximise the enjoyment of learning and achievement for all students within a compassionate and democratic school culture, encouraging them to be responsible, creative and engaged lifelong learners.
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Western Australia 6050
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