I am Sophie Batten and I am at NACC NRM on work experience for the week. I go to Geraldton Grammar School and am in year 11 on the ATAR pathway, I am doing Maths-Apps, English, PE Studies, Human Biology, Health Studies and General Outdoor Ed.
I am from a farm out in Yuna and board at the Geraldton Residential College where I stay for the week and go home to the farm on weekends or stay in our house in town. On our farm we have Dorper sheep and crops: wheat, lupins, canola, many different perennials and pastures that we are trialling for sheep feed and to improve the health of the soil.
After graduating I am interested in the health pathway to be able to help people, or ways to help the environment and having a sustainable future so this is why I came to NACC to explore this area and get a better understanding on what they do.
Travelling Past Mingenew
Today Jarna and I drove out past Mingenew to get papers signed before the end of the financial year by a farmer from out that way. We stopped at the bakery on the way past and then hit the road. We had the kangaroo in the back too that came with us the whole day. This was a new experience for me as I don’t often go out that way. It was crazy getting to see all the cyclone damage in that area and how windmills are all bent inwards and trees upside with their roots in the air.
This morning Kahree and I went to meet Geraldton Primary at Drummonds Cove to plant trees all along the beach foreshore to create a nicer shore and prevent the erosion of the beach. Trees stop the erosion as they make roots and hold the soil together stopping it from being washed away. I really enjoyed helping the kids and watching them enjoy planting the trees too.
Today Tegan and I went out to many beaches throughout Geraldton to monitor them and take photos for the ‘Photomon’ app. It was really interesting to see how much the beach had changed with all the sand that has moved and the vegetation that has either been taken away by the ocean or people trampling it. I enjoyed going to all the beaches and learning about other ways that have been used to stop people from damaging the dunes to protect the vegetation and catching the sand like the dead branches on all the bare spots of the dune or the sand trap fencing. I also learnt how the seaweed (beach wrack) can be a very good thing for our beach as it holds organisms that feed the fish and birds, stabilises the beach, preventing erosion. Nutrients are returned to the sea to grow more plants that feed more fish and it also prevents the waves from washing the beach away.
Site Visit Near Dongara
This morning Anna, Jarna and I all went out past Dongara to do a site visit on a farm that wanted perennials on their bare, sandy paddocks and fencing to be done to protect the bush, corellas and keeping the sheep in their paddocks. It was interesting to me to watch Anna sample the paddock and throw the square around while writing down the percentages of how much is dead or alive in that one spot to see if it needs perennials. I enjoyed driving around their farm to see the different landscapes compared to Yuna and our farm and the difference in the trees, hills, soil as well as the fencing.
Thank you so much NACC for having me, I really enjoyed my time here and I learnt so many new things about sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and the coast. I really appreciate you looking after me, letting me tour around with you to all these places and teaching me about all NACC’s projects while you are all working.