Our first “Adventure With Purpose” weekend was an absolute riot. Check out what went down during an introduction to conservation from the Intrepid Landcare crew to a bunch of our explorers in a secret location in the Blue Mountains.
Landcare is addictive.
That’s what I’ve discovered after a weekend away with the crew from Intrepid Landcare.
Even now my hands twitch at the thought of lantana. It feels as if any moment I’ll sight an invasive species and dive headfirst into the scrub in a flurry of roots and loose dirt.
I’m dead serious, it’s that good.
So, how did I end up in this mess?
Meet the Crew
After a dawn drive to the rendezvous and spot of musical cars we hucked packs and hiked for about 2 kilometres in to our campsite. A bearded bloke named Bruno had already started enthusiastically pointing out invasive species as we wound through a mix of farmland and National Park corridors.
With tents set up, Megan Rowlatt from Intrepid Landcare introduced her nature loving crew including Bruno, Jenna, Elisha and Jeff, a 25 year veteran of landcare in the Colo region.
Some quick group introductions revealed a shared desire to protect our natural environment, but a general lack of experience in landcare. We were also a job-hating bunch with 3 of us having resigned the previous week!
Just as we were hatching plans to start a subsistence-farming commune, Angus Reynolds from Blue Tongue Ecosystems arrived to bring our minds back to landcare.
“Lantana well, it’s got square stems, it’s spiky and I don’t know, it just looks like a bastard.”
Armed with this info (and quite a bit more don’t worry), the team set us loose on the overgrown bushland.
Within hours the crew had gone from plucking small saplings to bodily tackling bushes three times their size.The pungent smell of thrashed Lantana camara hung heavy in the air.
Bruno is one of landcare’s lost causes. Years of work with Intrepid has seen him chasing bigger weeds to get his conservation rush. Working with him promptly did my back in, but it was worth it for the pleasure of tearing out a pest 3 times my sizes.
Absolutely spent, and with the sun slinking off behind a mountain, we shuffled back to camp.
A Job Well Done
The roaring campfire was the perfect place to reflect on our achievements. In a few hours, our small crew of 20 explorers had cleared a massive patch of bushland, opening up the ground for natives to claim their place. A burrito, some riverside philosophy and a cheeky goony was a knockout combo for bed.
“I have had an adventure with purpose”
I heard Miranda say from her tent that evening. She was taking the piss, but she also kind of meant it. To be honest though, it had been a pretty purposeful day, the adventure was yet to come.
Packrafts – An Unlikely Introduction
Jeff Cottrell became involved in landcare work out of a passion for whitewater. Back in the early 2000s, when NSW National Parks were closing off access to heavily damaged river systems, Jeff realised that he needed to sell himself to get access.
As it was, many species along the riverbank were most easily reached by packraft. Armed with an inflatable and a pair of secateurs, Jeff and his crew hit the river.
We weren’t going to be doing any cutting today, but Jeff had brought along the packrafts anyway so we could explore the area we’d help protect (and loosen our shoulders with a 9k paddle).
The way a packraft floats in the water, that jumping-castle-in-a-floodzone bounce, ensures maximum comfort as the current takes you away.
“This is quite possibly the most relaxed I’ve ever been”
Alice sighed as her raft drifted in lazy circles; soaring cliffs and vine-covered gums framed the sky. At least I think it was Alice. I don’t know, I heard it quite a few times that day.
A big thanks to Megan Rowlatt and all of the crew at Intrepid Landcare for an incredible weekend. We can’t wait to relapse into some sweet, sweet, conservation again soon!