We are halfway through the summer holidays and I have just returned from a trip up to the Yarra State Forest. For the weekend, I’ve been volunteering with a zoology phd student from uni with his project which involved getting some hands-on experience catching lizards!
His project was to monitor the effects of logging to the environment. To measure the effects, we went to various sites in the forest to collect faunal samples (soil, insects, skinks etc.) to see if there is a difference in faunal diversity and the general health of the environment.
Getting to Yarra State Forest
I didn’t have access to a car, but that wasn’t going to stop me from heading up there! Took me about 2 hours on public transport to get up there and we stayed in a caravan park nearby.
A typical day
A typical day would be something like this: leaving at 6am, driving around the forest to 22 sites checking out the number of lizards in traps, opening and closing traps, taking soil samples, checking fly traps, finishing at 7.30pm if we were having a good day.
Here are some pictures of my trip
Why I’ve been volunteering with these trips
Why not!? I would love to get more hands-on experience in the field. I spend all semester sitting in a lecture, learning things off paper and I have been dying to get to get some field experience!
I still don’t know what I want to do beyond my undergrad degree. Research? I don’t know. Helping out with these trips give me a taste of what research will be like, plus I get to talk to current research students and get some insights into their experience. I’ll rather get a taste of it now, than realising half way through my masters that this research path is not right for me.
You can volunteer with these trips too!
You don’t need to be a zoology student to participate and volunteer! Join the Melbourne University Zoology Student Society facebook group, and when research students need helpers, they will post it here.
In the past I’ve also volunteered with projects involving catching swans and bandicoots – they were good fun!