Trip to the Bat Cave

For most people, a trip to Thailand consists of sun, poolside cocktails and general R&R, but Central’s Environmental Monitoring and Technology students aren’t most people.

During May, environmental students, led by lecturer Gun Dolva and Global Vision International (GVI) went to Thailand to be involved in conservation work and learn about Thai culture.

Funded by the Federal Government through the VET Outbound Program, the two-week trip was the perfect opportunity for students to utilize their existing skills and build some new ones.

The students had a full schedule involving a variety of conservational and cultural activities including, rainforest surveys, turtle husbandry, beach cleaning and learning all about Thai culture.

For many, the highlight of the trip was travelling to Khao Sok to stay on floating huts. From there, the students took a ten kilometre hike to a bat cave and a dawn boat trip to spot primates and birds in the rainforest.

The experience gave the students a unique opportunity to study and appreciate the natural beauty of Thailand.

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‘Hiking to reach a cave deep in the rainforest with spiders larger than the circumference of a bucket; living on floating bamboo rafts; birdlife rarely seen; finding colourful insects; and caring for turtles no larger than the size of my palm. These are all experiences one cannot find on the internet. The people are fantastic and the food better’, said Central student Steve as he reflected on the trip.

A conservation expedition to the remote corners of Thailand is an adventure most people will never experience, but for these Central environmental students it was a rare opportunity to use their skills in one of the most spectacular places on earth.

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Turtle cleaning in Thailand

Last month, eight Environmental Science students from Central, together with their lecturer Gun Dolva, had a unique opportunity to visit Thailand care of the Federal Government’s Vocational Education and Training Outbound Mobility Program (VET Outbound).

The group gained invaluable work experience in the ecology field, while making a real difference towards the conservation of local species.

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The VET Outbound Program provides support for VET students to undertake international short-term (less than six months) study experiences that relate to their course.

The students, currently studying a Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology (EMT), were based at Phang Nga and the work undertaken supported ongoing efforts by GVI (Global Vision International) towards conservation of marine and terrestrial habitats and species.

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Work ranged from cleaning turtles, scrubbing turtle tanks, applying anti fungal solution, hiking in two national parks to conduct biodiversity surveys, identifying  the species found and a collection of over 20 bags of trash from Thai Muang Beach.

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“The ecological skills the students had learnt here at Central ended up fitting perfectly into the work they did at Phang Nga.  Their ability to work in teams and in the field, which is something we do a lot here at Central, paid off wonderfully”, said EMT lecturer Gun Dolva.

“For me it confirmed that the EMT course and the activities we build into it prepares the students for work not only locally, but internationally as well.”

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