At times I thought we should have been making a film about leeches and ticks, such was the rich and moist environment our party had to contend with deep in Budderoo National Park, near Robertson. But no, this was a project about a threatened species of plant, the Pomaderris walshii, one of a number of the Pomaderris genus marked for preservation through a major NSW Environmental Trust project.
We were blessed to have ABC TV’s Gardening Australia presenter, Costa Georgiadis, come along for the adventure. Even though he was there in an informal capacity, I gave him no choice but to get on camera and just be “curious Costa”. He laughed and said he’d do anything asked of him, and proved to be incredibly obliging, enthusiastic and as much fun as he is on the telly.
The leeches were literally being peeled off me by the scientists and rangers as I scrambled through the bush and shot the material. Filming the plants in cultivation back at Wollongong Botanic Garden later that afternoon was, needless to say, slightly less menacing. But I couldn’t understand how Costa didn’t even attract one leech in the National Park, and it made me think that even the smallest bush creatures somehow know to respect him.
I went back to Budderoo a day later to take some aerial footage with my unmanned aircraft, and at one stage the remote controller lost touch with the drone for an excruciating minute. Later that day when reviewing the footage I almost fell off the editing chair seeing the little quadcopter barely skim the top of a very tall eucalypt – missing by about 30 centimetres!
The future of the Pomaderris Walshii is in good hands, with the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) leading a collaborative partnership of government bodies, research institutions, national parks, land managers, custodians and botanic gardens all contributing to the Pomaderris conservation project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust. The three-year project will involve the collection of seed and cutting material from Pomaderris populations across NSW and the ACT.
P.S. If you want to feel really immersed in the bush, the 10 minute “director’s cut” of this film can be viewed here