Enviro acoustics

All welcome to mark the International Year of Plant Health with Orange Cowra Cabonne Science Hub who will present an online series of online presentations and videos relating to plant health, technologies and the environment from 25 June 2020. Join a sound recordist, ecologists and artists as they address topics including environmental corridors, soundscapes and plant and bird identification.

In declaring 2020 the International Year of Plant Health, the United Nations General Assembly stated that: “The year is a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development” 

The first webinar in June will be a co-presentation by water ecologist Dr Jo Lenehan and sound recordist Kim V Goldsmith, moderated by the Science Hub’s convener Phoebe Cowdery.

Kim and Jo will be discussing monitoring techniques, plant and animal habitat,and waterways. The focus will be on Jo’s extensive knowledge of waterbirds and aquatic plant health, with Kim discussing how she uses sound recording in her field work. They will explain how this work is assisted by a broad range of technologies that are applied to environmental data capture as well as techniques in producing soundscapes.

About the presenters

Dr Joanne Lenehan

Dr Joanne Lenehan is the Senior Environmental Water Manager for the Lachlan River system. She is interested in how good science, local and traditional knowledge, and communication enables adaptive management of water-dependent ecosystems and community values.

As an environmental water manger, Joanne is one of a handful of people with continuous, long-term (7 years) experience with the day to day ‘mechanics’ of water delivery and flows (including 3 floods) at the scale of the Lachlan River Catchment.

A career highlight was managing the biggest straw-necked Ibis colonial bird breeding event during the 2016 floods where over 200,000 nests (assume then 400,000 birds) were recorded using drone technology.

Jo completed her Honours in animal behaviour science (the use of synthetic dog urine to deter wallaby browsing on revegetation sites) and a PhD in feral horse ecology and management intemperate sub-tropical woodland. She has always been involved in applied ecology research before more recently moving into project management roles with Central Tablelands Local Land Services and now water management with DPIE–EES.

Kim V. Goldsmith

As a sound recordist, Kim V. Goldsmith has been working with sound capture since her radio days with ABC Radio in the early to mid-1990s. Today, it’s integrated in her digital media art practice, using a range of microphones, along with digital cameras, to document the landscape. This work has taken her across regional NSW and to Iceland over the past few of years.

Over the past six months, Kim’s been working on a project on the edges of the Ramsar-listed Macquarie Marshes (100km north of Warren NSW), observing and recording the area’s recovery from drought. Using a 360-degree sound recorder (Zoom H2n), shotgun mic, contact mics, hydrophones and lavalier mics feeding into a Zoom H6 recorder, Kim takes atmospheric recordings at different times of day, including pre-dawn, late afternoon and dusk into the night. She then layers those atmospheric recordings with more ‘isolated’ sounds from the shot gun mic, such as bird song or running water, and sounds from underwater and underground using the hydrophone and contact mics. The lavalier mics are often used in a binaural configuration to capture a specific part of the sound landscape, such as the zone between the Coolabah/Black Box woodland and the River Red Gum forest, or within the reed beds in the channels that run through the Marshes.

Researching the location is an important part of the process before arriving on site and throughout the field recording period. Kim often works with scientists or academics, or those with extensive local knowledge, on directing her reading and testing ideas about what the key monitoring points are within the landscape. By visiting a site repeatedly over time, before and after rain, during different seasons and breeding cycles, sound alone can start to build up a ‘picture’ of changes. Kim’s process of working is a creative take on what’s long been known as bioacoustics monitoring.

Event details

When: 10.30-11.45am, 25 June
Where: The live webinar will be available via a link upon registration
Cost: FREE with registration here

This online event series has been facilitated by the CORRIDOR project on behalf of the Orange Cowra Cabonne Science Hub with support from Inspiring Australia NSW as part of its year-round science engagement initiative.