My name is Katelyn Greaves and I have a school based traineeship with South Cape York Catchments (SCYC). Currently I’m in my second year of my traineeship, and have worked in a number of different environments around Cooktown and with the local community.

When I first started I learnt how to spray weeds properly and safely, and how to monitor using a GPS to produce maps. Later on, I learnt and saw how different weeds impact the environment in different ways. For example; Gamba grass and Hymenachne.

Gamba grass causes frequent and intense fires reducing the native vegetation and replacing ecosystems. After the Gamba grass is controlled the risk of hot fires decreases and native vegetation and ecosystems begin to flourish and expand once again.

Hymenachne, on the other hand, removes all of the oxygen out of the water making native species unable to survive and eventually the wetland dries up. After the hymenachne is controlled the native aquatic species begin to thrive.

I also worked in the local National Parks to help keep the public safe, while looking after the environment. We mowed and whipper-snipped around signs, and fences to keep them visible and reduce fire and weed damage. We pruned vegetation and kept tracks clear, and counted hazards - including crocodiles. I learnt all this work makes it safe and appealing to visitors.

I’m currently at the stage were I’m developing my own projects to work with peers around the Cooktown community. I’ve completed a project in reducing the amount of rubbish entering Alligator Creek, which flows out to sea. I planned, prepared and conducted the project with the Conservation and Land Management students at Cooktown State School.

Together we are going to further develop projects to continue to reduce the amount of rubbish entering the creek.

I have really appreciated the support that Cape York NRM has given me with my Traineeship.