Backyard Buddies

Citizen Science

Citizen science  is volunteer-based research where people like you collect environmental data to help answer scientific questions.

Programs are carefully designed so that participants use a consistent method to gather information over a specified time period. This ensures that the information collected is reliable, and allows comparisons to be made between data collected by different citizen scientists in different places.

Kangaroos at Pretty Beach. Photo credit: OEH

Citizen science projects are particularly useful in tracking emerging problems in areas that are rarely visited by formal monitoring programs.

Citizen science is a great way to actively participate and get involved in community conservation projects, from those with little prior knowledge of Australian wildlife to experienced amateur naturalists.

So to get you started we have listed some of our favourite citizen science programs.

WilderQuest

Are you ready to set off on a wild adventure? Join WilderQuest today and become a WilderQuestRanger. Discover amazing places, play games, earn points and more!

The WilderQuest program includes a website, an iPad App and links to Ranger tours and activities in national parks across NSW. It provides opportunities for families to experience nature and Aboriginal culture, online, in classrooms, at events and in National Parks.

And there is a Teacher portal: 'WilderQuest Learning'. Fun bug hunts, playground prowls, invertebrate investigations and Aboriginal bush lessons are just a few schoolyard activities from the environmental online learning portal called WilderQuest Learning (WQL) designed for primary school teachers and their students.

Kids Learning about native species. Photo credit: OEH

Have you explored WilderQuest as a family? Come and meet Ranger Sam, Pug, Spot and the rest of the gang in a national park near you. During the school holidays, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service  run WilderQuest ranger-guided tours for kids to discover the hidden mysteries of our national parks. You can discover our wonderful coastline on a sea creatures treasure hunt, become a waterbug detective, or join an Aboriginal ranger on a bush tucker workshop. There's heaps of exciting adventures for the whole family. Keep an eye on the website to find out about WilderQuest tours in your region.

Why not become an online Citizen Scientist?

Help save threatened species and preserve Australia’s iconic wildlife all from home. Become a citizen scientist and assist researchers by looking for animals in wilderness photos taken by automated cameras around Australia. Anyone can join in and you can do it all online.

Wildlife Spotter - online citizen science project

Australia is a vast country. Researchers have set up automatic cameras that are snapping wildlife day and night. Now we need your help to analyse the millions of photographs captured in tropical rainforests, the dry rangelands, and around our cities.

From emus to superb lyrebirds, from bettongs to bandicoots, from brush turkeys to Tassie devils, and even feral cats and foxes—scientists want to know which species are roaming both in the wild and in urban areas.

Wildlife spotting... Wombat! Photo credit: OEH

The research will help answer questions including: how many endangered bettongs are left; how well native predators like quolls and devils are competing with feral animals for food; and how common are common wombats.

So join in and help save threatened species and preserve Australia’s iconic wildlife!

How to get involved

 You don’t need to register to take part in Wildlife Spotter but there are definite advantages to doing so.

https://wildlifespotter.net.au

 

Have you heard of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA)?

The Atlas of Living Australia has some great functions. If you sign up for an account, then you can add your own species data. This data will be accessible to anyone using the Atlas of Living Australia’s database and is also a good way for you to keep an online list of what you have found. You can use the Atlas of Living Australia’s database to search through our people’s data and observations of species you are interested in. It also has great mapping tools where you can analyse species distribution and landscape/ecosystem attributes.

ALA collates and maps data on recorded sightings of Australian plants and animals. Community groups and members of the public can contribute their sightings of native species to the database, investigate the different plants and animals found in a particular area, or generate maps showing where a particular species has been recorded.

A number of FNPW’s project partners use the ALA to support their projects. The ALA has also developed a Citizen Science smartphone application, called BioTag. This application allows Citizen Scientists to participate in targeted surveys by recording sightings and answering observational questions on their phones, which are then uploaded automatically to the Atlas.

New Frogs Mobile App

Explore the wonderful and fascinating world of Australian frogs.

Frogs Field Guide