Rainforest, coral reefs, culture and conservation – the July holidays Biology Conservation trip to Fiji had it all. On July 1st a group of ten students, ranging from Year 11 to Year 13, departed on their two-week adventure. They spent the first two nights in traditional homestays in a village called Vusuratu, on the Eastern side of Vanua Levu island. Here they were privileged to be invited to participate in many traditional activities, from coconut milk and oil preparations to mat weaving, Earth oven (lovo) cooking to Copra cutting and the traditional kava ceremony.
After this immersion into the local culture, the group trekked from the village for two and a half hours uphill through the jungle to a camp in the heart of the rainforest, which would be home for the next five days and nights. Here they worked with a host of dedicated scientists on a vast array of projects, including setting pit-fall traps to catch lizards and skinks, erecting mist nets to catch and monitor birds, surveying plots of rainforest and surveying rivers for tiny water mites.
The next stop was a marine site, where the group spent the next seven days learning how to identify a wide range of marine species on a reef ecology course and spotting as many of these as possible while surveying the ocean on scuba diving adventures every day. At both the terrestrial and marine sites, the students received lectures from dedicated and passionate scientists in their fields of expertise. They also learned about the conservation efforts being undertaken and the threats to the flora and fauna in the area. The last days of the trip were spent on the island of Viti Levu, experiencing a range of cultural activities and seeing some of the wonderful sites that Fiji has to offer.
Our thanks is extended to Miss El-Libany and Dr Holden for giving the boys a wonderful experience.