On an early morning in mid-October, Class 11 set off for a trek adventure of K’agari (Fraser Island). The camp was linked into the Botany Main Lesson that had already been unfolding for 2 weeks.
Fraser Island is unique in its diverse plant communities that provide a refuge for many species which are no longer present on the Mainland. The richness in the plant life is remarkable considering that the subsistence for the plants and trees is sand and not soil. We experienced all of the varying plant communities, of the 6 dune systems, as we walked a total of 68km crossing the island from west to east, immersing ourselves in the everchanging environment from dry sclerophyll to rainforest to the giant Satinays and Eucalypts at Central station and Pile Valley to wetlands and heaths around the lake areas to sclerophyll forests, mangroves and pioneering coastal dunes.
We worked hard walking the distances, up and down hills. Sometimes in soft sand, sometimes bush bashing and often exposed to the sun. The tracks we walked were part of the Fraser Island Great Walks. We were held in the beauty and awe of this landscape and rewarded at the end of each day with submersion into one of the many pristine lakes that provides life to the plants and animals on the Island. We took time to observe and draw several of the plants from each of the communities. We also learned some interesting facts form one of the bus drivers who transported us back to our campsite one evening. Dingos apparently will hang around the fig trees when their fruit are ripening waiting for a feed from the dropping fruit. We learned that the indigenous Butchulla people used the unfurling fronds of the ferns as a remedy for the itch and pain of green ant bites and that they had a way of processing the fruit of cycads so that it was no longer toxic and could provide them with a flour for making a type of flat bread.
The camp brought varied experiences to the students. Their will was challenged and developed the most. They found the fortitude within themselves and with support from each other to carry their daily tasks through. They amazed themselves with what they had managed to achieve when they put their mind to it.
We are privileged and humbled to have had this amazing camp experience. Thank you K’agari.