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Biology Camp

The Senior Biology students recently ventured to Salvator Rosa National Park to conduct an environmental study at the Nogoa River north east from Tambo. 24 students, accompanied by Miss Andreatta, Mr Huth, Mrs Peacock and Chappy took the school bus, trailers full of tents and swags and two four wheel drives into the wilderness for three days.  After a 5-hour journey, most of which was over rough dirt roads, we arrived at the camp site with the students relieved to get off the bus and take in the beauty of the surroundings. They had little chance to sit down with many dusty tents to raise and the camp kitchen being set up for a comfortable place to sleep and eat for the next few days.
As soon as camp was set up, Mr Huth started the fire, Chappy had the billy boiled and Mrs Peacock was preparing the spag bolg for dinner. Miss Andreatta took a group of students to the stream to inspect which area would be best for setting up transect lines to study the following day. Once the sun had set and a beautiful dinner was ready to eat. Students enjoyed sitting around the camp fire eating and mingling while Anastasia ate close to three bowls full of spaghetti Bolognese to keep her going through the night. Afterwards students quickly settled back in their tents after a long day of travel and setting up camp.
On the Wednesday students woke up nice and early and were treated with bacon and eggs for breakfast. After that it was down to business, students were put in work groups to set up the transect lines along the river for them to collect measurements at five metre intervals along the line, while also constructing a profile diagram of the area and a flora and fauna register. Measurements were taken three times during the day to gauge the change in the environment at different times. Before lunch was ready some students stayed behind to rest while others went for a bush walk with Miss Andreatta to look at the rock formations on the hill next to the camp site. After lunch the students, Miss Andreatta, Mr Huth and Mrs Peacock went for a bushwalk to see a couple of sites at Salvator Rosa. After walking 2km in soft sand we made trek up to the sandstone monolith of Spy Glass Peak, a sandstone mountain with a 10m diameter weather-eroded hole that close to the summit that the sun shines through. We then walked a further kilometre to visit the crystal clear natural springs that adds 10 million litres of water a day to the Nogoa River. The students enjoyed the cool springs and Millee, Zoe and Jewel even tried the natural clay as face masks.
When we got back the students had to complete their final trail of data collection before they could settle down to rest after the long day of walking and data collecting. Mrs Peacock along with the help of Mr Huth and Chappy prepared a delicious beef stew cooked in camp ovens, roast potato and damper for us all to enjoy for dinner.  After dinner everyone gathered around the camp fire to sing Hope and Faith a happy birthday and enjoy the taste of roasted marshmallows and hot milo’s. Mr Huth introduced a new game called ‘On a small boat to China’ for people to play around the fire that required a lot of thinking to pick the pattern that people thought of.
The game ended abruptly by rain and everyone retreated to their swags to keep dry falling asleep to the sweet sounds of rain. Throughout the night the rain progressively got heavier and soon Chappy had to make the call to evacuate the camp site at around 12.30 in the morning so we could get the students and the bus out before it was too late and had to stay another day or two. With heavy rain still pelting down the students were all woken up by Miss Andreatta shouting to get their belongings together and meet on the bus for further instructions on what to do. Four students Brea, Cass, Charlie and Blair stayed behind at camp to help Chappy and Mr Huth pack the swags and tents that could not be put down that night. By 1.30am Mrs Peacock had the bus back on the muddy slippery road for the slow and unexpected trip back to Charleville.
A big thank you needs to be given to Mr Huth for his knowledge of plants and for all the driving he had to do for us in this unexpected situation, Mrs Peacock for driving the bus, braving the unexpected weather conditions and for her deliciously cooked meals that all students enjoyed eating and to Chappy for his camp equipment, calmness when making decisions, wise words and his many famous stories. It seemed like all students had a good time and I hope they collected as much data as they will need as the hard part is still ahead, writing their reports!