heinäkuu 27, 2022

We're 2022 Eureka Prize Finalists!

G'day everyone,

In a bit of very exciting news, the Environment Recovery Project has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science!

We started the Environment Recovery Project in the hope of gathering scientifically meaningful biodiversity data by engaging everyday people in bushfire recovery via citizen science. The Project has exceeded our expectations, both in terms of the volume of data generated, and importantly, the meaningful, ongoing engagement with project members right across the country.

The Environment Recovery Project being nominated for a Eureka Prize is a testament to the work of citizen scientists and the value of citizen science to biodiversity research. Your observations can and do make a difference.

So from us here at ERP HQ to everyone who has contributed to the Project or Big Bushfire Bioblitz, a huge THANK YOU!

Learn more: https://youtu.be/pdbcaqbn1mA


Casey and the team

Julkaistu heinäkuu 27, 2022 08:51 IP. käyttäjältä alpine_flora_of_australia alpine_flora_of_australia | 1 kommentti | Jätä kommentti

maaliskuu 16, 2022

Bioblitz wrap-up 2

The second Big Bushfire BioBlitz, held on the NSW South Coast in and around Murramarang National Park, is all wrapped up!

We were lucky enough to have perfect weather over the weekend this time around, and plenty of enthusiastic bioblitzers, including a large contingent from the ALA. Plants, birds, herps, bugs and more were all on offer, including a great beachcombing trip on Saturday morning and some fantastic spotlighting sessions on Friday and Saturday night.

Observations are still coming in thick and fast, but we're currently at 2252 observations, and already close to reaching 700 species and overtaking the Blue Mountains tally.

Some highlights:

Greater and yellow-bellied gliders

A smorgasbord of frogs, including a green and golden bell frog

The critically endangered plant Rhodamnia rubescens

Some Merimbula Woodland Snails to go with the Blue Mountains Woodland Snails we found at the last bioblitz.

Looking at the two events thus far combined, we've almost hit 5000 observations and 1200 species, contributed by 92 observers (and of course importantly, with help from 345 identifiers). These are extremely impressive numbers, and will only continue to rise as more observations filter in.

It's likely that our third event (which was meant to run last week) will still go ahead at some point, but we're still figuring out the logistics of when and where; we'll keep you all updated!

Julkaistu maaliskuu 16, 2022 04:13 AP. käyttäjältä thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 1 kommentti | Jätä kommentti

maaliskuu 4, 2022

Big Bushfire Bioblitz - Greater Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains Bioblitz is done and dusted!

It was certainly a very wet weekend, with almost constant rain and heavy fog over the three days, but we had a fantastic turnout with 40+ participants coming along. There were relatively slim pickings on the birds and herps front, but there were plenty of great plants and invertebrates on offer.

There are still observations being uploaded (and if you haven't already, remember to post your photos!), but as of writing there are 2216 observations in the project covering over 600 species! This number will only climb as more observations are ID'ed to species.

Some highlights:

The many 'hairy snails' we saw

The myriad red triangle slugs, which were always a point of excitement

8 different orchid species!

The bird-size moths that swooped down on Friday night to our moth sheet!

Unfortunately the Washpool/Gibraltar Ranges bioblitz for this weekend was called off due to the catastrophic flooding in northern NSW, but the third event at Murramarang NP on the south coast for 11-13 March is still on. I look forward to seeing everyone there!

Julkaistu maaliskuu 4, 2022 05:26 AP. käyttäjältä thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 3 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

marraskuu 25, 2021

The Big Bushfire BioBlitz!

We have some exciting news! Across February and March next year, UNSW's Centre for Ecosystem Science is running three BioBlitzes across NSW to help build on the Environment Recovery Project, and bolster the already amazing data collected by the iNat community in the wake of the 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfire season. There'll be three back-to-back weekends of bugs, birds, bats and everything in between, with the aim to survey adjacent burnt and unburnt areas at three key locations across NSW.

We've partnered up with the Atlas of Living Australia, the Australian Citizen Science Association, Minderoo's Fire & Flood Resilience Initiative, and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and have a fantastic line-up of passionate experts that will be joining in and sharing their amazing knowledge.

The first event will be in the Blue Mountains from 25-27 February 2022, followed by Washpool NP in northern NSW from 4-6 March, and then Murramarang NP on the south coast from 11-13 March. You can register for any of the events at this link, and join the umbrella project (and any of the sub-projects) here.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to pop them in the comments below, or contact either @alpine_flora_of_australia or myself. I look forward to seeing you in the field!

Julkaistu marraskuu 25, 2021 04:01 AP. käyttäjältä thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 3 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

syyskuu 3, 2021

Spring flowers and fruits are here!

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your support, observations, and identifications so far. The bush is getting colourful again, and with lots of flowers and fruits out already, it's a great time to take a walk, see some gorgeous plants, and upload some new observations. We would really love your continued support as we go into spring and summer in 2021.

Here's one way that your observations are going back into science. My name is Desi, I'm a new curator on this project and a postdoctoral researcher in bushfire recovery with Western Sydney University. I want to use your observations help the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment manage their planned burns in the future. Specifically, I want to tell them:

  1. How long it takes for burned plants to start reproducing again. Our timeframe for how long it takes a species to mature is based on plants that are grown in nurseries or on council land -- situations that are more predictable than severely-burned environments, where canopy cover is wiped out and nutrients in the soil can be vaporised away.
  2. When insects come back to visit flowers. This is quite a broad question (after all, different insects do different things!), but it can be tied to the availability of flower resources, and how insects move in and out of burned areas. There is such a limited body of work about insects in the post-fire landscape that everything we learn is useful.

As part of this effort, we've added two new questions to the submission process.

  1. "How many individuals are you observing?". If you're observing a flowering Acacia suaveolens, for example, have a quick look from where you're standing and see if you can spot any other A. suaveolens plants that are flowering too. The options are [1 only / 2-5 / 6-10 / More than 10], so there's no need to spend a long time counting.
  2. "Plant: Do you see any insects on any flowers?". Have a quick look around the plant, see if any insect is sitting on a flower, and answer yes or no.

Taking the time to answer the project questions (when you're at the field, or by editing your observations later on the iNaturalist website) is really helpful. Counting how many individuals you're observing lets us know how many are 'doing the same thing' nearby, and looking for insects on flowers tells us when we might come back next time to do more specific observations.

Once again, thank you for your observations and identifications, in the past and hopefully into the future. We hope that especially in these times, you can feel the simple pleasure of getting out in nature and stumbling upon something cool. Stay safe and enjoy!

Julkaistu syyskuu 3, 2021 10:23 AP. käyttäjältä dquin dquin | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

elokuu 16, 2021

Bushfire music made just for you

Greetings everyone :-)

I hope you're all doing ok out there, whether you're doing the hard slog in lockdown or otherwise.

We'd like to share something really cool with you! We've been lucky to engage Kangaroo Valley musician, Zoe Elliot, to compose an original piece of music about the 2019-2020 bushfires. After a lovely chat and walk around my bushfire recovering backyard in the Southern Highlands, Zoe decided two pieces of music were necessary to convey the sadness of the immediate post-fire environment, and the hope in watching the bush recover.

"Fire Line" is the first song, which can be listened to here on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/2legJMgPdmDq5i92qmUjMn?si=2d8f63b1b80c4dc9

or on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/kUCo-eewPUw

The next song, "From The Ashes", is being released this Saturday, very much something to look forward to so stay tuned!

You can follow Zoe on Instagram @zoeelliott_music

Julkaistu elokuu 16, 2021 12:52 AP. käyttäjältä alpine_flora_of_australia alpine_flora_of_australia | 3 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

maaliskuu 17, 2021

Project update: positive stories and publications

Greetings everyone,

Well, we are most certainly overdue for a journal post! First of all, we'd like to extend a big thank you to everybody who has been adding to the project, from long-time members with hundreds or even thousands of observations (you people are citizen/community science powerhouses!) to brand new members.

Here's a few things that have been going on with the project:

This week, we published a short piece in The Conversation detailing 5 remarkable stories of flora and fauna in the aftermath of Australia’s horror bushfire season using observations submitted to the project. Some of your photographs are even showcased in the article!

You can read it here: https://theconversation.com/5-remarkable-stories-of-flora-and-fauna-in-the-aftermath-of-australias-horror-bushfire-season-155749?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

Something that came out last year that I didn't end up posting about (I was rather pregnant!) is the first peer reviewed paper from the project - Rapidly mapping fire effects on biodiversity at a large-scale using citizen science. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969720358770?dgcid=author

Here's a quick summary:

•Citizen scientists were able to rapidly collect data on biodiversity following bushfires (within days), moving much faster than conventional timeframes.
•Data that citizen scientists provided on fire severity (burn height and canopy scorch) nicely matched 'hotspots' satellite data. What this means is in areas where satellites recorded very hot burn areas, your data reflected this by showing high values for tree scorch height (burnt right to the top) and either complete canopy scorch or canopy completely consumed.
•Data was collected at a scale that matched the extent of the firegrounds, and on a wide range of biodiversity - fungi, animals, plants, lichen

For a PDF of the paper, just message me with your email address.

We'll be more active on the journal posts from here on in!

Happy nature-observing everyone


Julkaistu maaliskuu 17, 2021 09:54 IP. käyttäjältä alpine_flora_of_australia alpine_flora_of_australia | 3 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

toukokuu 20, 2020


Do you live in a region affected by the recent bushfires? Are you a keen photographer?
Award-winning documentary production company, Northern Pictures, are seeking photographers working on bushfire-related projects (stills and video) - from when the fires first hit, to now, documenting the regrowth. They will be used for a special natural history documentary to be screened internationally.

If you're interested, please contact jessica@northernpictures.com.au

Julkaistu toukokuu 20, 2020 07:09 AP. käyttäjältä alpine_flora_of_australia alpine_flora_of_australia | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

maaliskuu 6, 2020

Thank you citizen scientists, and hello fungi!

We're just over a month in, and the response to the project has been absolutely incredible! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to submit observations and identifications, we hope you're enjoying getting out there and watching life return to the firegrounds. Between you all, there's been over 2600 observations of 593 species so far, which is already turning into a rich post-fire biodiversity resource. Keep it up, you're all amazing!

Now that summer is behind us, cooler temperatures and the recent rain might mean you'll be seeing more fungi around. As with plants and animals, don't pick, remove, or damage fungi in National Parks or reserves.

Here are some handy tips from our friends at FungiMap Australia on how to capture clear images of these important organisms (reposted with minor alterations and permission).

Frame the fungi up so that you can see as many features as possible in one shot, or take several images showing important features. This includes the cap, underneath (e.g. the gills or pores), and stalk.

Get close, use macro settings where possible

  • If possible, have good light without glare, use tripods, timers, diffuse lights in low light conditions

It's great to include in the image:

  • Something for scale, like a ruler or 5 cent piece ‘echidna’
  • A white point object like a label to help with digital colour corrections
  • Mirrors can help with under surface shots

Fungi habitat

  • Habitat images are particularly important after disturbance events as it give use some information about the conditions at the site. For example can show if the area was severely burn or if patches of litter or vegetation survived the fire.

Find out more about fire and fungi here: https://fungimap.org.au/find-out-about-our-fire-fungi/

Julkaistu maaliskuu 6, 2020 02:42 AP. käyttäjältä alpine_flora_of_australia alpine_flora_of_australia | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

helmikuu 16, 2020

Burnt area protocol: keep it clean!

With the project taking off and more and more people making observations, it's a great time to remind everyone about preventing the spread of weeds and plant diseases.

@patrick_campbell has a great message to share, originally from Kerri-Lee Harris, for anyone contributing photos to the project:

"Avoid spreading weed seeds, diseases and fungi. Before walking into burned areas, think about where your shoes have been. They could be carrying seeds or soil-borne fungi … including Phytophthora! This fungus is deadly for many native plants and it is easily spread. Make a habit of spraying your shoes and other equipment with methylated spirits before entering or leaving fragile, regenerating bushland. And don’t forget your car. If you have driven along muddy tracks, wash your vehicle before heading off into another forested area."

Julkaistu helmikuu 16, 2020 07:54 AP. käyttäjältä thebeachcomber thebeachcomber | 8 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti