The final day of the trip has come around really quickly. At this point I feel as though we have a bit of information on Tourism and conservation but there are a few gaps to fill. First stop is a chat with the local council about waste management. This chat was great as meeting with local council gave another perspective on the region and its issues. Hearing all about the innovative initiatives that the council has been engaged in is fantastic, for example linking up a mushroom farmer with a company wanting to dump sawdust.
We then went on to visit a tourist operator. This was a really disheartening and depressing part of the trip. I think what makes it really depressing is the fact that the business is probably representing a good chunk of the population, the part that we need to do battle with and how do we go about educating people that aren’t interested? Probably the hardest part to swallow was the owners lack of acknowledgement that they are making a living off the park yet they have no desire to contribute funding to the park. The other part was the weird argument regarding why they didn’t have a voluntary donation box.
Following that the next talk was fantastic. This was with the Rural Fire Service. He understands the importance of saving lifes & property but also endangered species. He also understands the importance of hazard reduction in line with maintaining species. It was a really cool experience being in the command center. You could imagine all the different stakeholders there giving orders off the back of what was going on. It was an eye opener at just how many stakeholders have to down tools on their own jobs, get to the command center and make life or death decisions. It would be a really tough and stressful job at times.
The last presentation of the trip was from from local council, another absolute fountain on information! He has really fought hard to implement infrastructure such as the catchments he showed us to prevent run off of silt and other elements into the natural landscapes surrounding the urban area. In general it was great to hear the information about environmental issues that he shared with us, it didn’t stay in the realms of his work at the council he gave us a real insight into his past and just general information that was really interesting. We then headed to see the work that the local bushcare group had done on Pope’s Glen. It was so amazing to see these lovely retirees making such a difference to their surrounds. The enjoyment that they have got out of the 10 year project is so clear in the way they talked about it with such pride and achievement. Seeing a noticeable difference in the surrounds has really compelled me to want to seek out a bush regeneration group in my area or start one up. Being able to see the environment helped to understand what the team were faced with and how far they had come.
That was the final stop on what could only be described as a life changing trip! I have never met so many knowledgeable, like-minded, giving and caring people in the space of a week! It gives you a sense of hope and confirms why you are doing what you are doing. It inspires you to learn more and do more. It has given me a whole new perspective on the Blue Mountains, I will definitely be back for more!
Thank you Rosalie for such a great course!