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Looking for spiders on the top of a mountain


Petra Chambers

A teacher with a passion in getting our younger generation involved in looking after the environment, getting to know other people by learning languages, and getting outdoors.

Today a team of three teachers and one Park Ranger assisted spider scientist Joseph Schubert in collecting specimens. We were dropped onto the top of The Pilot in the Australian Alps at a height of 1829m. It was just an incredible experience to be dropped on the top of a mountain by a helicopter! With the background of a fantastic 360 degrees view we helped Joseph collect as many samples as possible. It took me a while to find some spiders but once I "got my eye in" I managed to find quite a few. Finding them and catching them are two different things though as many of them move very quickly.

We looked for spiders in amongst the rocks and leaf litter as well as under the bark of trees. Joseph also taught me how to use the sweep net to catch spiders that may be sitting in the top of low growing vegetation. It looks easy but for some reason he caught a lot more on his sweeps than I did! Maybe I need to do more practice.....

We all worked hard for this dedicated arachnologist (spider scientist) and collected about 25 specimens in total in the short time that we were on the site. Such a remote location is unlikely to be visited again and it was important to use our time as well as possible.

While we were there Joseph was also incredibly generous with his time and called in to two schools with us teachers. Our students got to see us working in the field and were able to ask him questions about spiders and his scientific research. I feel incredibly lucky to be having this Bush Blitz Teach Live experience and hope that all of the students back home are also enjoying the live calls and learning a lot about field science.