Saturday, August 2, 2008


I just got back from a 3-day environmental volunteer weekend through Conservation Volunteers Australia, at an absolutely beautiful site about 2 and a half hours southwest (ish?) of Brisbane. We were located at Bartopia Nature Reserve, and it was just a Nature Reserve that the owner is working on making into an ecotourism location for backpackers. It sported a family of kookaburras who were always hanging around. Our (myself and 5 other Australearn kids) assignment was listed as "weed management" which we thought meant we would be pulling weeds in the forest (which always feels kind of tedious and futile to me). Instead, we were taking down massive, tree-sized weeds called 'lentana' (sp?). For reference, a picture has been provided below. It was really great fun. Our team leader, Myriam, navigated her 4-wheeler up the perilous mountain roads to get us to the place, where we were greeted by Ben, the owner, and his semi-deaf mate Max. Both were very entertaining and very Australian men, who called us blokes and sheilas. They also called Jared, the redhead, "Blue". This is typical Australian humor (ie it doesn't make sense lol). We cooked dinner each night and slept in dormitories which were VERY cold...the last night I slept in one tshirt, two long sleeve shirts, two hoodies, flannel pants, sweat pants, and two pairs of socks, inside of my sleeping bag which was also covered in towels to serve as an extra blanket. But I think it added to the charm lol. The first night we tried our very hardest to make s'mores, but the lack of graham crackers and our inability to find thin-ish pieces of chocolate or marshmallows that weren't flavored raspberry made it a challenge. Possibly the most amazing part of where we were was all the stars you could see. Supposedly these were different from stars in the Northern Hemisphere, but I couldn't really tell except for how clearly you could see the Milky Way, which was amazing. I tried to take a picture of the stars, but it was to no avail. Please enjoy the pictures I do have posted, and here is a link to the rest of the album if you are interested:

Our shoddy s'mores ingredients:

The view from Bartopia:The big green thing that takes up most of this picture is one of the weeds we were destroying:


(^oo^) bad girl (^oo^) said...
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Rachel said...

um, woah. can i have any raspberry marshmallows you don't want? cause they sound like they'd make the best s'mores ever. if you had chocolate. and graham crackers.

did the treebushes have little red/orange/yellow flowers growing in clumps and kind of sandpaper-y leaves? lantana used to take over our yard in texas, and it grew in kenya, but i've never seen it north of texas. sounds like fun i guess?

anyway, i was originally just going to say happy birthday, but then i got excited about marshmallows and lantana... and come to think of it, it's probably tomorrow in your time zone anyway. woops. happy birthday yesterday!! hope you're having an awesome time. :)