Recently, Natural Area gave a few of its field employees the opportunity to undergo training with the Consulting team. The aim of this was to help create a flexible team for the consultants to call on for upcoming projects as work gets busier. Employees with a background in or passion for flora or fauna were selected for the training and respective flexible survey teams.
As part of the flora survey team, we received comprehensive training regarding plant identification, including an in-house guide to flora families and their defining characteristics. To test our skills, we were presented with a flora sample collected that morning to identify. The training also covered the various types of projects conducted by the consulting team, including survey and weed mapping, and we were walked through the relevant guidance at both company and state level. Finally, we went on a field visit to a current survey site. Here we were able to familiarise ourselves with the quadrat survey method, and the software used for data recording. Every ID question thrown at Sharon (one of the Company’s Environmental Scientists) was answered seamlessly, and we learnt to identify Hibbertia hypericoides by its little ‘moustache’ of stamens.
The fauna team is comprised of members with a very wide variety of backgrounds and specialisations, including black cockatoos, small mammals and reptiles. As part of this team, we will be involved in fauna survey and relocation projects, which are especially important prior to clearing works, and I’m sure will be very rewarding to be a part of. We also received some training regarding vertebrate pest management, on which some members of the team will undertake additional training in Carnarvon to complete their licensing. Once all the theory was completed, we had another field trip to dig in an example trap line; learning (or refreshing) how to put in pitfalls and drift fences, and wrangling funnel traps.
All in all it was a very rewarding training process, and I know we are all very eager to get out and put it into practice!
- Shelley Hill, July 2021