SUMMER STUDENT 2013: SAYAH DRUMMOND
Unlike our 2011-12 summer (see below), this year we didn't have a single large project such as the Mt Weld surveys that required multiple assistants and filled the summer period. We instead took on a single summer student from further afield: Sayah Drummond, a post-year 12 student from Porongurup in Western Australia. Sayah had the opportunity to participate in several different projects being undertaken by colleagues, associates, students and ourselves. Some of these were day trips, while others involved overnight trips and more extensive field work.
From mid January until late March, Sayah's experiences included:
- A general introduction to Mt Wellington and the Hobart area, including meeting a living fossil, the mountain shrimp Anaspides tasmaniae.
- Assisting Ag Sci PhD student Raylea Rowbottom investigating Ross River virus mosquito vectors in Tasmania on a field trip to various salt marsh locations.
- Assisting Zoology PhD student Gini Andersen with her project investigating the ecological interactions between Tasmanian Devils, quolls and feral cats in the Arthur River area, helping capture, assess and radio-track Devils from one of the last disease free populations in the wild (this was the major part of Sayah's summer placement, involving live-trapping and radio tracking of animals over two and a half weeks in the field in remote NW Tas).
- Participating in a foundation (introductory biology) unit at UTAS presented by Dr Regina Magierowski (Zoology & Bookend) to prepare students without biological backgrounds for this subject (effectively covering, but reinforcing, work that Sayah had already covered in biology at school). Intermixed with this was also an introduction to the PhD work of Trish Clements, and an opportunity to assist with processing samples in her lab if time permitted.
- Assisting DPIPWE biologist Mike Driessen with ecological monitoring in central north Tasmania.
- Assisting a Bookend camera crew, with thanks to Joe Shemesh and Doug Thost, with filming in Tasmanian wet forest at Mt Field.
- Assisting Bookend's Niall Doran and Alastair Richardson with a survey for Tasmanian burrowing crayfish at Spreyton, including a detailed safety induction for working on industrial sites.
- Assisting DPIPWE biologist Robbie Gaffney with wetland bird counts, including associated boat work with Inland Fisheries.
Some of Sayah's time here was a bit patchier than planned due to the disruption of our fire-hit summer, various scheduling complications and a bad dose of flu that hit her Bookend hosts and delayed several trips. However, field days were often very long, and gaps between them gave Sayah the opportunity to catch up with family. All of this was made possible through the contributions of the above people, and the financial support of the Tasmanian Outdoor Leadership Trust and Bookend's 2012 GPT Group Community Grant via the Banksia Environmental Foundation.
Read about Sayah's experiences in her own words in this short PDF report.
"I had such a fantastic educational experience with Bookend, which has solidified my decision to become an environmental scientist and try to help improve our struggling environment." - Sayah Drummond, Bookend Trust summer student.
SUMMER STUDENTS 2011-2012: MT WELD AND MORE
Video glimpses of the summer scholarship work from 2011-2012:
FANTASTIC SUMMER SCHOLARSHIP SEASON IN THE TASMANIAN WILDERNESS
As mentioned in our previous update, Tasmanian students dominated in the Australian Geographic Society's BAYERboost summer scholarship program for 2011-2012, with 5 of 7 national places awarded in Tasmania. Four of these students were year 12 Rosny College graduates co-sponsored by Bookend and the BAYERboost program (Katie Mulder, Sophie Warren, Aden Handasyde and Bridget Dickenson). Three further students from Year 11 at Rosny College were also sponsored by Bookend (Kate Adby, Georgia Hofto and Connor Eagling), with one volunteer also joining the program as a University undergraduate (Lachlan Phillips).
The primary project for these students was assisting with the Mt Weld altitudinal transect – a project repeated every 10 years to try to detect changes in plant and animal assemblages over time due to impacts such as climate change. This involved wilderness field work (5x helicopter insertions into the deep Tasmanian wilderness and a long, hard walk out) and lab sorting of the invertebrate samples and remote camera survey images collected.
Between these trips, the students took part in surveys for freshwater crayfish, marine debris (to help trial this year's Expedition Class and Skullbone surveys), bats, and even got to do a spot of caving - all the while being overseen and trained by people working in these fields. They also took part in school, community and media promotion of what they were doing.
Click here or on the image below to see a PDF photo-essay of the students' experiences in their own words, with images of what they did, where they went, what they saw, and how muddy they got doing it all. The PDF also includes comments on the their achievements from the people overseeing the work. Video clips are coming soon.
“The best bits are all of it, there hasn’t been one thing I haven’t enjoyed or hasn’t pushed me, I’ve met some amazing people, learnt lots and experienced things most people my age haven’t and won’t get to until they are much older!” - Katie Mulder, BAYERboost/Bookend Trust summer scholarship student.
In addition to students working directly with Bookend, Lily Leahy also had an undergraduate project funded by the BAYERboost program and the Dean's Summer Scholarship program. Lily was working with Dr Menna Jones on ecological issues around the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease. See the following video clip for more on Lily's work:
We would like to thank all of the students and volunteers for making this such a succesful program, as well as Michael Driessen and Clare Hawkins from DPIPWE (Biodiversity Monitoring Section and Threatened Species Section - both pictured below), the Parks and Wildlife Service, Mark Wapstra from ECOtas, Dr Regina Magierowski and Kate Hamilton from the UTAS School of Zoology, Greg Ross from Rotor-Lift Aviation, Joe Shemesh from Stormfront Film (also pictured below), and Greg Thirgood from the Sony Centre.
"I'm pleased that the Bookend students have been involved in this work. It has been great to deal with people who are so enthusiastic about what they are doing and so keen to learn." - Michael Driessen, DPIPWE Senior Zoologist, Biodiversity Monitoring Section.