This month kicked off the start of our Directed Research Projects (DRs). After coming back relaxed and refreshed from our mid-semester breaks, we all went straight into fieldwork. I’m part of the research group studying Lumholtz tree kangaroo olfaction and we started our DRs by traveling to the Wildlife Habitat Refuge in Port Douglas. We spent two days video taping their captive tree kangaroos’ reactions when presented with different types of animal scat. The rest of the week was spent collecting dung beetles and looking for scratch marks on trees as indirect methods for studying tree kangaroos.
A much needed break came when we celebrated both Passover and Easter at the Center. For Passover, we had a Seder plate, chocolate caramel matzoh, potato kugel, and charoset (chopped apples, honey, and cinnamon) – all from some students’ family recipes. We decorated our outdoor dinner tables with tablecloths, rainforest leaves, and candles. It was a wonderful meal and it was very interesting to hear the story and meaning of Passover from our peers. A few days later we celebrated Easter with an EGGstravaganza! It included an Easter egg hunt around the center with the winners receiving some pretty awesome Australia temporary tattoos! The celebration continued when we went down the road to Lake Eacham to swim and barbeque. The day ended with a movie night hosted at a local café called Groovealicious. The owner, Lynn, who also provides us an awesome internet connection when we’re in Yungaburra for an afternoon off, showed us the Australian movie “The Man From Snowy River” inspired by a classic Banjo Paterson poem. It was a fun western-type movie and a perfect end to the day!