Mak­ing great tracks with sea tur­tles

FRED'S PASS RU­RAL SHOW FEA­TURE

Sunday Territorian - - FRED'S PASS RURAL SHOW FEATURE -

IT’S not of­ten you get the op­por­tu­nity to be up close and per­sonal with one of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s rare and nat­u­ral phe­nom­ena, the egg lay­ing rit­ual of the fas­ci­nat­ing sea tur­tles.

Mid­dle Year stu­dents from Kormilda Col­lege in­cor­po­rate this ex­tra­or­di­nary an­nual ad­ven­ture as part of their sci­ence cur­ricu­lum, which is hosted by lo­cal com­pany Sea Dar­win.

The tours are con­ducted around the lu­nar cy­cle and start with an hour and a half speedy boat ride over to Bare Sand Is­land in the late af­ter­noon.

Stu­dents then ex­plore the remote sandy en­vi­ron­ment with guided walks, an out­back din­ner and a mag­i­cal sun­set be­fore their guides ‘in­tro­duce’ them to the nest­ing grounds of the Flat­back and Olive Ridley tur­tles.

There they wit­ness the fe­male tur­tles crawl up from the Sea tur­tles are a rare and nat­u­ral phe­nom­ena in the Ter­ri­tory beach leav­ing their dis­tinc­tive ‘tur­tle tracks’ to dig their nests and lay eggs.

This hands-on, in­ter­ac­tive tour in­volves the stu­dents in the re­search pro­gram that is be­ing un­der­taken to learn more about the tur­tles, which are vul­ner­a­ble to ex­tinc­tion.

Charles Dar­win Univer­sity com­menced the re­search project on Bare Sand Is­land over 20 years ago that gath­ers data to help tur­tle con­ser­va­tion, es­ti­mate pop­u­la­tion size and de­ter­mine threats to their sur­vival.

Kormilda stu­dents get in­volved in count­ing the hatched eggs in tur­tle nests, mon­i­tor­ing eggs that failed to hatch, tak­ing nest tem­per­a­tures and use GPS units to lo­cate and record tur­tle nest sites.

Bare Sand Is­land and its sur­round­ing area has an in­ter­est­ing and unique war his­tory that had, up un­til re­cently, many buried bombs and mines.

Sea Dar­win re­cently launched new in­ter­pre­ta­tive sig­nage on the Is­land that re­counts the his­tory and the nat­u­ral won­der of the amaz­ing sea tur­tles.

More in­for­ma­tion about other Kormilda tours can be found at the school’s stand at the Fred’s Pass Ru­ral Show. Komilda Col­lege of­fers stu­dents an op­por­tu­nity to get out and en­joy na­ture Get­ting up close and per­sonal with a sea tur­tle

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