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By Erin Roger 19 January 2022 3 min read

It’s been two years since the Black Summer 2019-20 bushfires[Link will open in a new window] devastated Australia. Those megafires were longer and hotter than the normal cycle of bushfires in Australia. Researchers now need data to find out how the bush is recovering. We need your help with our Big Bushfire BioBlitz!

Focus on bushfire recovery

Atlas of Living Australia[Link will open in a new window], in collaboration with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Centre for Ecosystem Science, Minderoo Foundation’s Fire and Flood Resilience Initiative, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and the Australian Citizen Science Association, is running three BioBlitz in three different locations affected by the megafires.

The three BioBlitzes will gather important information on how species are recovering, and therefore help protect the ecosystem in the future.

People living across parts of NSW are being encouraged to get involved in the forthcoming 'bioblitzes' where citizen scientists will record as many species as possible over three weekends. Photo: Dean Martin 2021. ©  Copyright News Corp Australia

What is a BioBlitz?

A BioBlitz is a citizen science event. People get together for a short period of time to discover, identify and record as many living things as possible in a specific location. For this event, ‘BioBlitzers’ will meet in three different NSW locations. They will use the iNaturalist mobile app to record their observations.

Experts will be there on the day to help point out plants, animals, and fungi. They will explain how species fit into the ecosystem and the impact of the bushfires. Plus, they will provide tips on how you can become a better naturalist!

The data collected during BioBlitz will help scientists and land managers. Researchers can find out more about the biodiversity in that location and how it helps protect the ecosystem. For people participating, the BioBlitz provides an opportunity to engage with nature and learn more about the local environment.

How to participate in the Big Bushfire BioBlitz

There are three events running in February and March 2022. You can register your interest at the Big Bushfire BioBlitz event page[Link will open in a new window]. Following registration, you will receive more information after you have registered.

BioBlitz 1: Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

  • Where: Dharug and Gundungurra Country
  • When: Friday, 25 February, 6pm to Sunday, 27 February, 4pm

BioBlitz 2: Rainforests of the NSW north coast

  • Where: Washpool National Park, Gumbaynggirr Country
  • When: Friday, 4 March, 6pm to Sunday, 6 March, 4pm

BioBlitz 3: Forests of the NSW south coast

  • Where: Murramarang National Park, Yuin Country
  • When: Friday 11 March, 6pm to Sunday, 13 March, 4pm

The Big Bushfire BioBlitz is supported by the Australian Government’s $200 million Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.

Don't live near these locations? We need you!

The UNSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science runs a project through iNaturalist called the Environment Recovery Project[Link will open in a new window]. All species observations uploaded to iNaturalist’s app from the locations affected by the 2019-20 megafires will be included. This data can then be used by the UNSW scientists to monitor how species are recovering.

If you live near an area affected by bushfire, you can observe and upload species observations to iNaturalist[Link will open in a new window] anytime. Likewise, you’ll be making a valuable contribution to bushfire recovery research.

Be COVID-safe and have fun

We want to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. We recommend all BioBlitzers social distance and wear masks when participating. All participants must also provide proof of vaccination.

There is a risk of exposure to COVID-19 that exists in any public place, including open air locations where people gather. Please read the COVID-19 disclosure on the event registration page.[Link will open in a new window]

Due to UNSW fieldwork volunteer requirements, this event is only open to ages 18+.

For more information about the Big Bushfire BioBlitz, read this UNSW media release[Link will open in a new window].

This work is supported by the Australian Government’s $200 million Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.

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