Lizards and seeds and mushrooms, oh my! – Lu-Wei’s big year with NGT

I kicked off my year as an NGT volunteer in February, after making the shift from Wagga Wagga to Mount Gambier in pursuit of environmental work.

As a volunteer, I was going on weekly adventures collecting seeds for revegetation, bush-bashing through bracken to help install pitfall traps, paddling in kayaks with Lauren V doing fish surveys, and chasing Bryan and Andy as they chased Silver Xenica butterflies.

Silver Xenica Butterfly

Omphalotus nidiformis

One of my favourite things from this year (and my first paid gig as a casual!), was becoming a tour guide for ForestrySA’s Ghost Mushroom Lane.

There was something magical about being in the middle of a pine forest on a winter’s night, torch in one hand and a hot chocolate in the other, surrounded by glow in the dark mushrooms. Not something I ever thought I would do!

Since beginning an internship in September, I have been coordinating the annual monitoring program for the Eared-Worm Lizard (Aprasia aurita – see right) – an endangered legless lizard found in South Australia and Victoria.

Unfortunately, legless lizard hunting also means finding lots of other legless creatures, and after encountering 14 brown snakes in 2 days, I still don’t think my heart has recovered!

I have also been involved in various activities at a number of the NGT reserves, such as:

  • Installing pitfall traps and reptile grids at Walker Swamp,
  • Seed collecting and revegetation at Eaglehawk, and
  • Revegetation and education programs at Mount Burr Swamp.


Mount Burr Swamp

No two weeks are ever the same, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the places that I’m in, the people I’m working with and the experiences and skills that I am acquiring along the way.

Next year I am looking forward to continuing work out at Walker Swamp, getting involved with more of the community education and volunteer projects, and assisting in the second year of the Silver Xenica translocation project. And of course whatever else comes along!

Camping at Eaglehawk Waterhole

Lu-Wei Spinks