Great turnout for citizen science workshop!

24th January 2023 | 

We had a great turnout and great weather for a citizen science workshop last Saturday at Reid St Reserve, Ulverstone. 

Our experts Sharon Young and Cynthia Schaap guided this extended half-day citizen science learning blitz! 

We were also lucky enough to welcome our members Simon Van de Veen and Peter Lawrence from Central North Field Naturalists, who shared invaluable information about the monitoring project they have done at the reserve (including discovering potoroos!) - and gave top tips for setting up a wildlife monitoring camera. To finish off, our CEO gave a walk and talk on the benefits of monitoring for discovering hidden creatures.

The day was full of eager discussion about how and why we might collect ecological data. 

Image: Sharon shows workshoppers some flora ID tips © Cynthia Schaap

Sharon took us through plant identification using a range of samples collected from her own extensive native garden. She used these to demonstrate the difficulties of understanding Australian natives using scientific terms such as genus, family and species.  Sharon emphasised the importance of understanding what plants will bring certain animals and what interactions there are between flora and fauna.

Image: A hands-on workshop © Cynthia Schaap

Sharon provided some really useful resources, such as Tasmania's Natural Flora book, and a field key to a native and naturalised acacia species in Tasmania. Participants were handed branches of native trees from Sharon’s backyard to inspect.

Image: Eucalyptus amygdalina © Cynthia Schaap

Image: A great turnout © Cynthia Schaap

In Cynthia's talk, she answered our burning question: what does monitoring help to do ?

Image: An introduction to monitoring tech © Cynthia Schaap

Monitoring the local environment helps us make informed decisions on environmental management and planning. For example, monitoring feral cats may lead to a cat exclusion zone, or monitoring an eagle nest may lead to development decision making and removal of threats for more species to thrive.  This all leads to an enriched value of the area and could help if you are trying to achieve conservation status, too. 

Cynthia walked us through setting up wildlife cameras, and introduced us to some user friendly naturalist apps such as Gaia GPS, frog ID, Ebird and iNaturalist.

Image: Thanks Simon for sharing your experience and tips © Cynthia Schaap

Image: Peter Stronach takes the group on a walk and talk © Cynthia Schaap

At the end of the session, our CEO Peter Stronach gave a walk and talk through the reserve, noting some of the hidden gems that can be found when you monitor your patch. 

Overall a day filled with lots of eagerness to learn and make use of some of the available technology to track and support local biodiversity. 

Thanks to Oliver's Bakery for a well-enjoyed feast, to all who came along, presented, and supported this workshop. 

The workshop is part of Landcare Tasmania's Outreach Program and is supported by Gavin Pearce MP through the Braddon Volunteer Grants and the JM Robert’s Charitable Trust.