I was quite amused to learn that the ‘alien’ plants I would be helping to remove were to be one of our beloved natives in Australia – the Casurina! It is interesting that a plant that works so well in one country can be quite invasive and destructive to the ecology of another.
One of our volunteer activities involves helping out with a day of alien plant removal that has been organised by the park authorities. The techniques used here are quite similar to those used at home. Cut the tree just above the root system and poison the stump.
Before we start, the strategy behind the program is explained to us. Part of the program includes utilising local contract labour and providing jobs to the local communities. These men and women wake up very early in the morning to make it down to St Lucia to be involved in the work here. They are economically very badly off and this scheme provides them an income which some have used as a stepping stone to other ventures or often just to ensure their families are fed.
I cross over to where they are sitting and strike up a conversation before I ask if I can start taking pictures. The women are rather shy but the men are only too happy to pose for me. They laugh and say stuff in Zulu which I don’t understand (are they talking about me?…possibly) but I don’t care. Their crazy poses are what I am here to capture.
Cutting down a mature Casurina is hard work but fortunately there are only so many machetes around so many of us grab the cans of poison and follow the tree choppers around.
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself”. ~Alan Alda