Sunday, December 23, 2007

WWOOFing experience!

Coming from an outside view of not knowing much about the native animals of Australia, we had an opportunity to live at a wildlife sanctuary in the Adelaide Hills. For the past week, we’ve been surrounded by kangaroos, koalas, platypuses, potoroos, wallabies, bandicoots, possums and many other exotic birds and animals. They all live safely in their natural habitat of native plants and trees. It’s a 15-acre fenced in wildlife paradise maintained by the Barnard family.

This experience was made possible through the wonderful program of WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms). WWOOF hosts provide members with free meals, accommodations and education on the local environment in exchange for 4-6 hours of manual labor. We worked hard clearing tree-size weeds and building a fire prevention system for the house (since bush fires are a harsh reality here). We were spoiled with Melinda’s delicious cooking of sushi, spring rolls and pumpkin soup, to fancy-shmancy toasted sandwiches and an exotic "WOOFer's Delight" salad that you'll have to taste for yourselves some day! Meals were an opportunity for Mel and Tony to share their knowledge of the local habitat, and learn from us about international sign languages and Deaf culture.

So here’s a few fascinating facts about some of the animals we’ve helped take care of this week!
In the 1970’s, Woylies were thought to go extinct with only 200 left. But thanks to efforts from Wildlife Sanctuaries & National Parks their numbers are back up to 70,000 today.
Kangaroos can decide to have a male or female baby. They can also stop the development of their embryos in harsh environment conditions such as droughts or fires.
The platypus can dive 80 times an hour and stay under water up to 10 minutes.
A Potoroo is a tiny kangaroo only 20cm high.
And a Wallaby has an average lifespan of 17 years.

Thanks Mel, Tony, Alex, Max & Eli! It was honor to be a part of your lives and the work you do.

Christy and Joey the Kangaroo
DJ workin the weeds
The Barnard Family
Tony & DJ installing the fire prevention system on the roof

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