August 5 – Atherton Tablelands

For the first half of the day the Spartan group stopped at several different locations throughout the Atherton Tablelands.

One of the visited crater lakes

The two lakes we stopped at, Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine were both created by volcanic explosions over 100,000 years ago. Our guide Jack told us that the pollen grains preserved at the bottom of these lakes can tell us of different weather patterns, climate changes, and types of ecosystems that have occurred since the time the lakes were created.We also visited the 600 year old Cathedral Fig Tree. Though the nearly 250,000 acre area the tree resides upon was once used for logging, it is now a state park and World Heritage Area. Starting out as a normal sized tree, bird droppings transported seeds into the tree’s crevices. The seeds then sprouted their own canopy and root systems, ‘strangling’ the original tree and the process continued. The base of this majestic giant covers nearly 1/4 of an acre and stretches up about 160 feet.

Cathedral Fig Tree

Cathedral Fig Tree

Spartans at the Cathedral Fig Tree

After lunch, the group went to a 13-year-old rainforest corridor to pull invasive and harmful weeds. A rainforest corridor is a human-planted forest that connects fragmented masses of rainforest to one another. Connecting rainforests helps prevent inbreeding and starvation in animal populations and ensures safer passages and retention of biodiversity. Pulling invasive species of plants gives native species less competition so that the rainforest can thrive.

Service project - weeding rainforest corridor

While we had a lot of fun weeding, it was rewarding at the same time to give back to the country that has given us so much.

Tree kangaroo

The evening was capped off with a fun night of canoeing and animal spotting. The group got to see a tree kangaroo!


One response to “August 5 – Atherton Tablelands

  1. Seeing the Cathedral Fig Tree was a magnificent experience, something that I imagine is comparable to standing in a Sequoai forest in California. The top photo of the tree that Andy posted is probably one of the best taken, but still does not communicate the immense size. And the rainforest corridors were just as impressive-it is the first I have heard of an extensive effort to regrow the land area that was lost from development.

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