Members of the public are being invited to participate in a citizen science research program to boost existing bushfire recovery, data collection and monitoring activities for impacted wildlife.
Supported through the Australian Government’s Regional Bushfire Recovery Fund, the program includes funding for a Citizen Science Coordinator position based within the Atlas of Living Australia hosted by Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, to support the delivery of three bushfire recovery projects.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said citizen science projects present a unique opportunity to improve the science on bushfires, future preparations and bushfire actions.
“Three projects under the program are supporting fire-affected communities to engage with nature and the science of recovery,” Minister Ley said.
“The first project will see CSIRO run a series of weekend long ‘BioBlitz’ events in bushfire-affected regions across NSW to generate new evidence on the impacts of large-scale fire on biodiversity.”
A BioBlitz is a collaborative event to discover and record as many living things as possible within a set location and period of time and will involve both scientists and the general public.
“The $485,000 program includes two other projects which will develop resources to support citizen scientists to monitor post-fire plant recovery and identify active threats, and to digitise historic invertebrate records, ensuring their ongoing value,” Minister Ley said.
“Volunteers have digitised and transcribed thousands of specimens so far from CSIRO’s National Insect Collection using the DigiVol platform, getting us off to an incredible start.”
The BioBlitz events will be delivered by CSIRO in partnership with the Australian Citizen Science Association, University of New South Wales’ Environment Recovery Project and Minderoo’s Fire and Flood Initiative.
With partners from Western Sydney University and CSIRO’s National Research Collections Australia, all three projects will draw on a pool of experienced citizen scientists to document how Australia’s unique plants, animals and fungi recover from fire and expand our understanding of invertebrates by building a collection that can be used by taxonomists, ecologists, and researchers.
Find out more and register for the BioBlitzes here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/206905017477
Further information about the Australian Government’s $110 million Regional Bushfire Recovery Fund: https://www.awe.gov.au/environment/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery/funding-support/regional-delivery-program
Media release originally published: The Hon Sussan Ley MP Minister for the Environment Citizen scientists to boost bushfire recovery activities