The sun is yet to rise and we are up, eating breakfast and packing the gear we’ll need for the day ahead. We can’t wait to see how all the plants have fared since the last time we visited.
We’ll be towing a quadbike to help us access some of the sites, and carrying a range of electronic equipment to record the condition of the plant communities we see.
Our survey sites are quite varied, from river red gum forests and coolabah woodlands to marsh grasslands and lignum shrublands.
Each site we visit is marked by a pole in the ground and a GPS co-ordinate.
When we arrive, we find the pole that marks the site has gone, maybe dislodged by a wandering cow. Not to worry, we have the GPS co-ordinates and site photographs to help us locate the exact location again.
Now it’s time to begin collecting information.
We record every plant growing at the site, wetland species or not. We record the percentage of the plot that is covered by each plant species and collect samples of any species that hasn’t been collected from the site before or cannot be identified.
For specific trees, we measure height and trunk size, and look for tree hollows, nests and signs of flowering and fruiting.
It’s great to see some of the smaller trees have grown and graduated to a bigger size class.
We’re also on the lookout for tree hollows and nests.
The break for lunch is short, often perched on an esky, under a tree. Then we head out to the next survey site and continue the process until dusk.
We photograph every site and keep detailed notes.
We also keep our eyes peeled for snakes and other creepy crawlies that enjoy the great outdoors as much as we do!
The sun is setting and another day of site visits draws to an end.
Back at camp, we wring out our soggy socks, unpack our gear and sit down to dinner.
But the work is not over yet!
We use the hours after sunset to collate the information we have gathered during the day and make sure our equipment is charging, ready for tomorrow.
We also look at the plants we’ve collected from the field. Microscopes are set up and the process of identification begins.