The SFS Center in the Wet Tropics is unlike any other campus I have ever been on. First, the location is in the middle of a rainforest with an incredible amount of biodiversity, which allows us to see a vast amount of species of different shapes and sizes. The creatures that have taken my interest the most so far have been the invertebrates. They are so different, as if each one comes straight from my science-fiction novels. The best example I have to this point is a large green Praying Mantis. They are called this not because they are incredible predators, but because they look as if they are praying to a higher power. This female is only one example of the incredible species that my classmates and I interact with on a daily basis.
We have also recently surveyed the new growth, an area on the access road into campus that has been replanted after the area had been cleared decades ago before the Center was created. The new growth was planted around 20 years ago, and now every year, students survey this area to conduct a long-term study on how long and effective human replanting of deforested areas is.
Angus, Savanna, and Justin working on gathering data necessary to complete our lab reports.
SFS students are not the only people working on forest restoration. An organization called TREAT (Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands) works on the restoration of the Wet Tropics by working with local farmers. TREAT educates them on the importance of forest regeneration and how the forest’s restoration is more profitable than independent farming. As SFS students, we work hard with the members of TREAT to create corridors which connect separate parts of the rainforest and reduce edges (which are bad because organisms have a harder time living around them). SFS students help the members of TREAT by planting trees in farmland after TREAT obtains the permission of the farmers. This work can be tedious at times, but it is all worth it because my classmates and I know our work is for an important cause. However, knowing our work is important is not the only reason we continue doing it.
A TREAT member working at their headquarters.
To finish this blog off, here is a picture of me at a waterfall that I was able to explore because of the free time we received for finishing our work a day early. I am so thankful for the opportunities SFS has provided and for the hard working individuals that surround me. Without them, I would never have seen such amazing sites or gained amazing stories that I will remember for my entire life.