NGT’s new office at Deakin Uni in Warrnambool: providing great hands-on opportunities for students!

After nearly three years in Warrnambool’s CBD, we have relocated our western Victorian coastal office to Deakin University’s Warrnambool Campus. This new arrangement gives us access to all of the excellent facilities on the campus, and will open up more opportunities for working with staff and students from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Up close and personal with a Growling Grass Frog at Walker Swamp (photo: Jodie Honan)

On a personal note, being located at Deakin brings back a lot of fond memories. I moved to Warrnambool from Melbourne in 1992 to study Aquatic Science at Warrnambool. I stayed until 2000 to complete a PhD, moved away to pursue a career in research before being lucky enough to return in 2011. Our new office is located directly above the office I was in during my PhD, hence it feels a bit like moving “back to the future”, and you could say I really haven’t come far in 20 years!

The marine science course at Deakin has provided us with many volunteers, interns and casual staff; with students joining us to help out with fish surveys, wetland sandbagging and other tasks aligned with our projects. Our aim is to provide undergraduates and recent graduates with additional experience to bolster their CVs and to provide hands on learning and demonstrable experience outside of their studies.

Mark Trussler is currently undertaking a professional practice placement with us as part of his third-year studies in a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Marine Biology). A central role of Mark’s placement is aquatic surveys at the Grampians wetland restoration sites – Brady Swamp, Gooseneck Swamp, Walker Swamp and Green Swamp. Mark has been setting fyke nets to undertake annual spring surveys of fish and crayfish abundance and diversity across the sites. He will be producing a report on his findings, giving us both a contemporary snapshot and also measurement of how things are tracking after our restoration activities. Ongoing monitoring programs like this are often not funded; so having the capacity to incorporate skilled and enthusiastic students to help share the load is a real advantage.

Kayaking across Walker Swamp

Setting fyke nets at Walker Swamp

Mark has also been assisting me with some of our other Glenelg Hopkins CMA funded projects down at Discovery Bay, including the deployment of audio and water level monitoring equipment. It’s a diverse and often intense period of work, involving a lot of kayaking, remote adventures and hands-on application of all of the skills he has been honing while studying. We’re really exited about what the futures holds for our connection with the Deakin University community, and the opportunity to value-add to the great courses they currently offer in the environmental science education sector.

Mark pulling his weight – taking the kayak in to Long Swamp

Water level monitoring at Lake Malseed

 

Lachlan Farrington
Lachlan Farrington
lachlan.farrington@natureglenelg.org.au