IMG_4748We finally get to set off for the Blue Mountains. First stop is Yellomundee Regional Park just outside of Windsor. This is Darug country and we are welcomed by two rangers. They explained to us about joint management and cultural burning. It was interesting listening to their point of view regarding cultural burning. They suggested that burning every 20-50 years was too long to wait. They suggested that depending on the vegetation burning should be happening quite regularly. It was great to be on location with them to see the issues they were facing. The large amounts of overgrown weeds which were strangling the native plants from standing a chance were so prominent. The battles with mountain bike riders, several came charging through while we were there, was also prominent. The issue of dumping could be seen, an old bath tub lay near our bus. But the rangers were still so optimistic of change. The fact that they were able to do their first cultural burn earlier on in the year was a great sign. Seeing the plants grow back and the African Love grass being kept at bay was a sign of great progress. It was interesting to hear the different stakeholders involved, there was also the involvement of the local bush regeneration group to mechanically pull the African Love Grass.

It was amazing to hear the rangers knowledge on plants and animals. When he was talking to us he was still so in tune and connected with the environment, he was able to stop mid-sentence and tell us to listen to the call of the birds and how the call had become erratic due to a predator bird. It would be amazing to be able to have all of that information stored away and also be so in tune that whilst giving a presentation you can also listen to what is happening around you.

We then had a talk from a parks area manager, he gave some amazing advice and really brought it together by explaining managing differing stakeholder views using the analogy of the boy and the larder.

Next stop was a guided bushwalk with another National Parks ranger. Another highlight! The knowledge that he was able to give us really gives you a whole new light on native flora species. It was so great to be able to get up close and personal with a blotched blue-tongue lizard and get to experience the rainforest of the Blue Mountains. It was also really interesting to hear the ranger’s opposing view on Bush fires. He maintained that if you light the bush up, for hazard reduction purposes, on a regular basis you can actually experience species loss due to native plants not having sufficient time to create seeds.

We ended the day on a great note with an indigenous ranger who shared his indigenous culture with us. It was so interesting to hear the story of the 7 sisters which I had never heard before. It was also interesting to get an insight into indigenous culture.

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