What happens if there is a break down in the food chain?
My first week here at Port Moresby Nature Park has been filled with excitement, frustrations, hot weather… and babies! (You can read my first blog post here)
Lets start with excitement. The nature park has some amazing animals on display! On our introductory rounds Sharon and I met with Hornbills, Eclectus parrots and Blue Eyed Cockatoo’s, Birds of Paradise, Tree Kangaroo’s, three species of Cassowary, a Cus Cus and a Barn Owl, Dorcopsus and Agile Wallabies… Plenty of animals to amaze their visitors and Brett and Michelle are moving the animals into new enclosures species by species. The Matschies and Doria’s Tree Kangaroos are still acclimatising to their new enclosures but if you are around just after feeding in the afternoon you can get an up close encounter where the male will join you, by choice, on the viewing platform.
Now I am speaking for Sharon when I say that the animals are exciting but I do have to add that the grounds of the park are beautiful. Being from Sydney I’ve had my share of experiences at being blown away by rainforest environments but for Sharon some of the species here have been the first time that she has experienced them in location.
Last week also saw the opening of the new entrance into the park. The staff were excited to move to the new building, and just shows that as the Nature Park develops further it’s just going to get better and better not only for the visitors but the staff as well.
The frustrations… Coming into this experience both Sharon and I had a clear idea of what we wanted to achieve… and those plans have changed on a daily basis with shifting priorities and the harsh realities of the working environment. We are working in a climate that is taxing on your energy levels, and with a team of people that appear to have limited access to good nutrition, many of whom we observed skipping lunch. Michelle and Brett are incredible, managing a team of around 65 staff across the entire park, looking after all facets of the business including horticulture, works and projects, nursery, husbandry, floristry, external landscaping, functions, education, guest relations and accounts. We are both in awe of the work that they do, but this also means that we are just an additional two staff asking them for assistance on projects.
The learning from week one? We have to be flexible working to the constraints of the situation and the environment. But along with frustrations there were some wins…
• I taught my first lesson to a group of amazing year 8 students who I think might be a year or so ahead of the students in Australia.
• Sharon had an inspired working bee planting out the front of the new entry and administration building with 10 staff.
• Michelle and Brett were surprised with the early arrival of a little baby girl! Despite being born 6 weeks early she is doing really well. I do wonder what surprises are in store for us this week….