Gloucester High School Duke of Ed student camp in Barrington Tops

Gloucester High School Duke of Ed students at the start of their hike. Photo supplied
Gloucester High School Duke of Ed students at the start of their hike. Photo supplied

Gloucester High School year 10 and 11 Duke of Edinburgh students spent the weekend of March 13 and 14 camping in the Barrington Tops.

This expedition focused on Scotch Broom, its impacts on national parks and ways to control it.

We started with an induction organised and presented by National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Peter Beard at the Barrington Tops office in town.

We learned that Scotch Broom, originally introduced from Europe as an ornamental plant, has escaped and spread throughout the Barrington Tops and is infesting over 10,000 hectares.

The students got busy cutting the Scotch Broom. Photo supplied

The students got busy cutting the Scotch Broom. Photo supplied

Following the induction session, students loaded their camping and hiking gear onto the school bus and left for Polblue.

Music filled the bus as we slowing chugged up the mountain, arriving at Polblue camp ground at 2:45pm.

We quickly had to dig out our wet weather gear as the rain met us at the starting point, but were fortunate that it only lasted a short time.

Jackson took the lead on day one and walked the group from Polblue to Little Murray campsite, which was approximately five kilometres.

We were met at the entrance by a couple of brumbies, who were also camping at the site.

Tents were set up while Caiden attempted to light a fire with wet wood so that Ms Ross could boil her rice.

While thunder rumbled, we again were lucky enough to be missed by the down pour.

After a relatively good night rest for some, and an uncomfortable night sleep for others, we awoke the next morning ready to spend the day cutting Scotch Broom out of a priority area near our campsite.

After the students had finished working to get rid of the weeds. Photo supplied

After the students had finished working to get rid of the weeds. Photo supplied

Students armed themselves with tools provided by the national parks and worked their way along one side of the campsite, making sure they cut the weed right at the roots to prevent it growing back.

After four hours of weed cutting, we surveyed our work over lunch, then began the trek back to Polblue for a second night of camping.