This week we had the pleasure of the Tom Price High School students visiting us, supervised by Joe Manning, from the Tom Price Enrichment Centre, WA. The visit was sponsored by the Graham Polly Farmer Foundation which provides assistance and support for educational field trips. Eleven children and three teachers stayed at Gnaraloo for two nights to participate in activities with the turtle team.
The entire turtle team gave an informative presentation about marine turtles, marine conservation, the turtle species at Gnaraloo, and what is involved during a Day Survey in the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery. The children (and teachers) all enjoyed the presentation – even when we told them about the early start time; 4.50am.
We were all up early on Friday morning excited for the Day Survey! We split into two groups and walked along the high tide line looking out for turtle tracks. There was some excellent identification of animal tracks by the students – including kangaroo tracks, goat tracks, and even a rabbit track at GBN (our most southern marker at Gnaraloo Bay Rookery). The ghost crabs made their usual appearance, emerging out of their burrows in the sand, and some students managed to catch one or two for a closer look.
Unfortunately no turtle tracks were observed that day (as it is the very beginning of the nesting season). Undeterred, the students made their own turtle tracks using the information they gained from the previous day’s presentation. We saw some excellent examples of loggerhead, green and hawksbill tracks.
The remainder of the day was spent enjoying the beauty of Gnaraloo – snorkelling at Gnaraloo Bay and making sand turtles.
Thank you to all the students and teachers that made the visit so enjoyable – we look forward to seeing you next time!
Ronan McGrath and Melissa Tan