A farewell blog from Rowena – our guest intern of the past 4 weeks

A farewell blog from Rowena – our guest intern of the past 4 weeks

On Friday night we said a warm farewell and thanks to Rowena Hamer – who has been undertaking a volunteer internship with NGT over the past 4 weeks. During that time Rowena fit into the place really well, and quickly became a valued member of the NGT team. Before departing for the resumption of her regular life in Sydney however, we did manage to get Rowena to sum up her experiences with a guest blog, so here it is….

Sunday 18 August, 2013. Current Temperature: 10 0C. Apparent Temperature: 20C.

After the beaches of south-east Asia, my month in Mount Gambier was off to a slightly chilly (not to mention rainy, windy and generally hiding-under-the-duvet) start. Luckily the warm welcome prevented me from contemplating the tempting thought of heading back to the airport to stow away on a flight back north! I was lucky enough to spend the last month as an intern working with the wonderful cast of characters at NGT.

One of the great things about working at NGT was the chance to get involved in some practical projects, getting my hands dirty and seeing concrete benefits to the environment as a result. I was lucky enough to be around in time for the Gooseneck Swamp restoration trial (see previous blog posts here), spending a day filling sandbags and indulging my inner five-year old mud-pie-making urges. The aches and pains over the next few days were well repaid by the chance to head out to Gooseneck on my second last day and see the dramatic changes that have taken place. Seeing the natural flow channel knee deep in water, the growth of aquatic plants and a resounding frog chorus was pretty inspiring!

Rowena following the flow down the natural flowpath between Gooseneck and Brady Swamp (the latter in the distance)

Rowena standing in the artificial drain at Gooseneck Swamp, with the sandbag weir and cutting through the lunette in the background

I’ve also been able to help with a bunch of other projects, including searching for locally rare plants as part of the Community Nursery Project, crawling through thickets of Sword Sedge (Gahnia clarkia) in search of threatened orchid species, learning how to survey for the threatened Dwarf Galaxias (Galaxiella pusilla), surveying properties in the Bangham/Geegeela area for weed outbreaks and mapping areas of permanent water inundation across the landscape. With such a diverse array of work there was always something interesting going on to get involved with.

NGT is a fantastic place to work: I’ve been so thrilled to have the chance to work with such an inspiring group of talented, committed people. Special thanks to Cath, Dan, Ken, Mark,  Lauren and Jono for being so generous with their time and companionship in the office and field.”

Rowena’s internship with NGT was funded under the federal government’s Returned Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (RAYAD) Internship program, administered by the AusAID program.

Mark Bachmann