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Year 11 Biology Camp

​Transport in Style thank to the VRM crew

For the third year running Home Hill High Schools year 11, Biology Class travelled to Cape Upstart for their Annual Biology Camp; where we commenced two days of exploring the many ecosystems which call Cape Upstart home.

To get to Cape Upstart we had to travel by boat and the Crew from the Burdekin Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) volunteered to take us.  This was going to be fun, we arrived ready to go to the Cape when we were advised that the water was rough and being on the deck of the VMR Vessel was deemed unsafe.  As we could not be on deck, VMR had to make two trips to get us to the Cape.  At this point, I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the Crew from VMR for keeping us safe and ferrying us to Cape Upstart. You guys do a tremendous job – without your generosity we would not be able have this camp.

Upon arrival at Cape Upstart, we had to complete risk assessments; these are to ensure the health and safety of students and teachers, identifying risks that could harm us.  Once this was completed we took the time to prepare lunch. Working in teams of 2 and 3 we all set about preparing our group meal of fantastic wraps.

After relaxing for a bit, and discussing our fields of study, we headed off on our first expedition of the camp; the mangroves. Mangroves support lots of unusual plant species and animals, they also house important fish nurseries and provide feeding grounds for birds. They also help to stabilise sediment run off. Upon arriving at the mangroves, Mrs Thomas explained the significance of the flora species - it's amazing how she remembers the botanical names of plants. Upon collecting samples of sand and water (to be tested back at school), we set off back to the hut for some rest and relaxation, out of the heat. Some of us slept, and some of us just rested, before we headed to our next destination; the Rocky Shore.

At the Rocky Shore we took more samples to be tested in class, and completed quadrats and transects, which was difficult due the wet slippery rocks. After our first day with several samples from the two different ecosystems, we headed back to the Hut for some dinner and relaxation; so far it had been a learning adventure. On arriving back at camp, Mr Bojack, and the boys; Jackson Love, Rory Heatley and Jarred Thorley built a fire pit that it was so inviting and comfortable. They also seemed to enjoy burying themselves in the sand.

Day two of our Biology Adventure started with BBQ cooked pancakes. With a 6am start there was no time to sleep in.  After breakfast, it was time to climb, we headed up to the gorge for some more samples.  There is a pathway to the top but was still an arduous trek in the heat. The gorge had water but unfortunately it was black and stagnant. We took samples of the water, and sat and rested a while discussing with Mrs Thomas some of the names of the local flora, we could not sit for long on the ground, however, as green ants were everywhere; in the trees, on our legs and in our pants. The trek back down was another daunting feat, with a few casualties tripping over rocks and slipping in the mud.

After returning to the hut, we had swim in the clear blue water. Once the heat of the day had passed we walked the length of Starlight bay and then headed to the sand dunes to complete our last field study. Upon returning to the hut Rory, Zoe and Mrs Thomas participated in the ‘Moonlight Bay Fun Run’; no records were broken, but they did an excellent job.

All in all we had heaps of fun rock climbing, undertaking field studies, swimming, shooting hoops, and playing in the sand. A huge enormous thank you to Mr Bojack and Mrs Thomas. Thank you Mr Bojack for the use of your hut, as well as sharing your incredible knowledge of the history of Cape Upstart and Molongle Creek. Thank you to Mrs Thomas for the learning experience and thank you so much to all who helped with getting us to Biology Camp 2016.

-Stephanie Harris