Hellooo from down under! Just another blog update on living abroad in the rainforest.
Here’s a quick recap on what is up: the final month of my biology-environmental program here in Australia is dedicated to research whereas the first two months were dedicated solely to classes and learning about the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of North Queensland, Australia. During the month of October, we worked on smaller projects related to the classes we were taking that involved learning field research skills and scientific writing. For the rainforest ecology class, we did field work with Yellow-Bellied-Gliders (volant marsupials) and their very specified habitats (Eucalyptus resinifera trees); for the natural resource management class, our research was forestry related, and we studied the effectiveness of secondary succession restoration methods of forests. These were both awesome experiences for learning and developing these research skills. That being said, we have moved onto working on directed research projects, in which we will learn more skills in writing and be further challenged in research.
I am currently working on a project that is more related to marketing and the indigenous tourism industry in the Wet Tropics. More specifically, through mixed-methods, I am attempting to gather data on tourist expectations of certain tours versus their actual experiences of tours to better understand how successful the marketing of the indigenous tourism industry is. This includes accounting for a lot of other factors, such as age, previous perceptions of culture, and how tourism is marketed to tourists. While this is less related to the natural sciences than what I might prefer, I thought that it would be important to try something different and thus widen my general knowledge (god knows it needs widening).
In between all the work there has been some slight adventuring: our program group had the opportunity to volunteer at the Tablelands Folk Festival in Yungaburra, where many of us met some of the featured musicians and had the chance to walk around and explore the the area on foot. Fauna wise, I’ve happened upon so many snakes and random lizards (such as the featured Forest Dragon in this post), snakes including red-bellied black snakes, amethystine pythons, and carpet pythons; lizards including spotted monitors, forest dragons, and leaf-tailed geckos. Luckily, I have a wonderful professor who aids as a resource for my fauna identification, such that together we were able to properly identify all animals. Additionally, I recently learned the skill of capturing the night sky with my GoPro (However, has it been a success? Questionable).
One more month until the closing of the program (December 1st to be exact)! What next? Well, my brother will be making his way around the world to meet my friend Katie and me in Cairns. He will be traveling with us down the east coast of Australia to Sydney via camper for the first week of December. Midway through the month, we will be flying to Auckland on the north island of New Zealand, and we will be camping and traveling around the island up. On the 26th, we will be flying back to the states (it will indeed be a snow-less Christmas), ending our month of travel. I can’t think of any better way to end my stay down-under, and I’m so grateful to have the means to do something as extraordinary as this (s/o to summer jobs, WFU, and parents). For any more inquiries, you can contact me via facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.