June 1 – Sophie & Scott

For our nineteenth day, we headed to the outskirts of Cairns to check out the northern part of the city. The first visit of the day was to Mosseman Gorge for a guided dreamtime walk, https://www.mossmangorge.com.au/experience/dreamtime-walks. We explored what the indigenous people of the area utilized in daily life for food, medicine, and other necessities, as well as how they utilized sustainable techniques while living in the rainforest. It was interesting seeing how they used knowledge that was passed down generation after generation. Examples of this could be using sandstone to create paint or ripping up leaves to create a natural soap. All of these were discovered in a location where around 80% of the natural environment was poisonous.

Our second stop of the day was the barramundi fish farm, Hook~a~Barra, https://www.hookabarra.com/. We learned all about how barramundi farming works in Australia and what it takes for a fish to go from a small minnow to something that gets sold at the market. Currently, with ten natural fish farms in the area, they keep these ponds around   26-28 degrees C.  Along with farming, we learned that the natural ponds supplied the local ecosystem with a food source as well. Hundreds of birds flock in the area and it is common to have different animals roam near due to the integrated farming techniques. The natural landscape also helps filter the chemicals they use within the farms, creating a very small footprint for themselves. The natural beauty of the landspace made for a breathtaking place to visit and have lunch!

Our third stop was the Jacques Coffee Plantation, https://www.jaquescoffee.com.au/. The Jacques Family originally came to Australia from Ethiopia and set down roots in Mareeba. Their coffee plantation is 50 hectares. They prioritize sustainable practices such as recycling water and re-purposing what waste they create. The water that circulates the coffee cherries through the factory is recycled and used to irrigate coffee plants in the paddocks. All of their plant waste from the process of husking the coffee cherry is used to fertilize the crop, and the husks are used as mulch. After learning about their plantation, we had the opportunity to sample coffee that they produced. It was absolutely delicious, and the experience was made better knowing that it was sustainably produced.

The last thing we did was have a “Welcome to Country” performed by Kylee and Jiritju. A Welcome to Country ceremony involves different kinds of leaves placed on a fire. Its purpose is to welcome people to the land and take a moment to relax and let go of negativity. Kylee and Jiritju then educated us on their culture and we had the opportunity to see some awesome artifacts. To end the night, the girls learned a song and the boys had the opportunity to do a dance!

A medium-sized barramundi fish. Our group in the rainforest at Mossman Gorge!

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