News from the 8th Wet Tropics Tour Guide field school

From 14 to 16 April 2016, the Wet Tropics Management Authority with its partner Savannah Guides delivered the 8th Wet Tropics Tour Guide field school.

The school was held at James Cook University’s Daintree Rainforest Observatory (DRO) site at Cape Tribulation. This self-contained venue is designed for researchers from all over the world to work and stay and provided the opportunity for our group to really get to know each other and share knowledge and experiences.

The first day was an optional training day with 30 attendees, including a number of Gunggandji and Eastern Yalanji Land and Sea Rangers, participating in unit study workshops on delivering commentaries and working and presenting living cultural landscapes.

The next two days were field school days, with over 40 attendees. There was an exceptional line-up of presenters sharing their expertise and some interesting discussions were had.

  • Neil Hewitt, from Cooper Creek Wilderness Walks, spoke about the many facets of living and guiding in the Daintree rainforest for over 25 years.
  • Dr Steve Goosem gave a thought-provoking presentation on ‘Cassowaries in the age of discovery’—who would have imagined that cassowaries have been internationally prized and traded for over 500 years!
  • Angelique Volz of Tangaroa Blue presented ‘Analysing marine debris data’ and the work done by Tangaroa Blue.
  • Dr Sandra Abell spoke about the northern bettong and her research into this ‘forgotten’ Wet Tropics kangaroo.
  • Stuart Worboys, a botanist from James Cook University, gave an introduction to ancient and relict plants of the Daintree.
  • Sheena Walshaw, Jungle Surfing, represented the Daintree Marketing Cooperative and led discussions on marketing issues and solutions.
  • Lawrence Mason, representing the Daintree Coast Community Council, delved deeper into the challenges of running a tourism business in the Daintree.
  • Dr Paul Chantrill led a workshop on ways to ‘slow the mad rush’ of tourism in the Daintree.
  • Roger Martin enlightened us to the biological differences of Wet Tropics tree kangaroos.  
  • Campbell Clarke spoke about ‘Habitat connectivity in the Wet Tropics’.
  • Terry Carmichael introduced the soon to be launched ‘Bloomfield track eBook’.

As well as fascinating presentations, there were opportunities to get out and experience the Wet Tropics. We visited Marrdja boardwalk, which is one of the best places in Australia to see ancient plants. While it was an authentic Wet Tropics experience with non-stop rain, having Stuart Worboys on-hand to answer questions was a definite highlight.

Being based at DRO gave us the opportunity to learn about this excellent facility, and we were able to examine the canopy crane and the amazing drought experiment that JCU researchers have set up to determine the effects of drought on tropical rainforest.

Our last port of call before the close of the school was the Daintree Discovery Centre where we got to see their newly-renovated interpretative centre with its array of interactive displays.


The next Wet Tropics Tour Guide field school and unit study workshops will be held around Atherton in October 2016—visit our Wet Tropics Tour Guide Program page for more info about becoming a certified Wet Tropics Tour Guide, or email to join the Wet Tropics Tour Guide mailing list. 


News from the 8th Wet Tropics Tour Guide field school

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

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