Go behind the scenes to discover the unique jobs and passionate people that care for South Australia’s environment.
Michael Freak – Senior Ranger Eyre Peninsula
How would you describe your job to someone at a BBQ?
I assist rangers in Lincoln and Coffin Bay National Parks with wildlife surveys, feral animal control, weekend patrol work, fire response (wildfires and prescribed burns) and enquiries from the public about native vegetation.
As part of my job as a ranger, I also deal with mining activities that affect parks in the reserve system on Eyre Peninsula.
I really enjoy the aspects of my job that take me out into the field, which include getting out into parks.
How did you get into this line of work?
Having grown up in a rural area, I have a love for the outdoors and wanted to find a job where I didn’t have to wait until the weekend to get outside and wasn’t stuck in an office all day.
I originally enrolled in an electronic engineering degree at the University of South Australia, which I decided wasn’t for me, so I switched to a Bachelor of Applied Science with Conservation and Park Management as a major and have never looked back.
What do you encounter in a ‘normal’ day on the job?
I would say there’s no ‘normal’ day in my job. Things can vary depending on the time of year. I might be working in the office answering queries from members of the public, reviewing program plans, undertaking an inspection with an exploration company, assisting with a shorebird survey or prescribed burn, or cutting up meat for fox baits
What’s the most amazing thing you’ve seen at Lincoln National Park?
There are lots of amazing things I have seen over time. Wildlife sightings can be quite unique, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.
Some highlights include seeing a sea eagle dive down from Wanna Sleaford Dunes, catch a fish then fly off with its catch, and seeing a pair of hooded plovers with chicks at their feet on a beach near Wanna.
I would like to think the threat abatement programs we undertake, like fox control, helps these species successfully breed.
What are your insider tips about Lincoln National Park?
Take the bumpy limestone tracks to Maclaren Point and visit the gorgeous beach. It’ll be worth the bumps, and don’t forget it’s only accessible by four-wheel drive.
Try the Stamford Hill Hike and take in the magnificent views at the top when you reach the Flinders Monument.
Throughout the month of April Lincoln National Park is being celebrated as the Park of Month – an initiative between Nature Play South Australia and DEW.
Main image courtesy of Jason Tyndall, Nature Play South Australia
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