“Scientists and government organisations are calling out for more citizen science observations – there is an incredible lack in urban areas where, in fact, many threatened species live. Citizen science is a super-easy way for the everyday person to engage in helping our biodiversity. And for most of us, we are looking for ways to help!”
Dr Judy Friedlander is the Founder & CEO of the environmental organisation PlantingSeeds Projects who will steer the inaugural national school citizen science B&B BioBlitz this September with the support of the Department of Education and the CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia. Judy explains why she set up this BioBlitz.
“We have set up the inaugural National school citizen science BioBlitz as we have seen how citizen science turns on the lights for many students in engaging with the outdoors. Of course, being in nature and planting are winners but students absolutely love taking images of birds, bees, bugs, plants – anything in nature – and having these observations uploaded to a citizen science biodiversity database such as the Atlas of Living Australia and iNaturalist. It is their generation’s technology. When students find out their contributions can help scientists to understand species’ declines or develop regeneration strategies, it is very empowering. There are even examples of students finding species many experts have not seen for decades.”
The national school citizen science B&B BioBlitz will involve a lunch-time or recess investigative activity in school or home school grounds in the first week of September 2022 – National Biodiversity Month. The NSW Dept of Education website video Blitzing Biodiversity explains the BioBlitz and how citizen science links to curriculum.
Students in all States and territories will take photos of plant, bird and insect species in their school grounds to be uploaded by a designated teacher to the Atlas of Living Australia via iNaturalist. Their contributions will assist biodiversity research and the citizen science activities are linked to curriculum areas.
Teachers (primary and high school) are invited to register and participate in a free after-school zoom workshop on Thursday 1 September, 3.45pm to 4.30pm, to learn about:
- The simple ways a school can participate in the September National Schools B&B BioBlitz
- Citizen science, which enables students to take photographs and contribute their observations to Australian and international biodiversity databases
- How student citizen science data can help threatened species, and;
- How citizen science links to State curriculums and develops STEM skills
Recorded version also available of the instructional session. Register for the BioBlitz and instructional package here or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bed and Breakfasts for Birds, Bees and Biodiversity
B&B Highway is another practical and educational initiative to help regenerate our urban and regional environment. The B&B (Bed and Breakfasts for Birds, Bees and Biodiversity) Highway is a four-stage project that involves learnings and outdoor actions. Students from pre-school to Year 12 engage in learnings and activities relating to biodiversity, plants, pollinators such as bees, birds and microbats, and citizen science. Read more about the B&B Highway project in a previous IA NSW blog Take a closer look.
Dr Judy Friedlander is the co founder of PlantingSeeds and an Adjunct Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS. Her PhD explored the ‘how to’s’ of engaging people in sustainable issues and practices and led her to set up PlantingSeeds.
“Our organisation, PlantingSeeds, knows that children, teenagers – and adults – are looking for positive and practical ways to help our threatened species. We go into schools to create regenerative habitats for birds, bees and other pollinators and find that it is not just the plantings, nesting boxes and corridors between schools that students are passionate about – it is also this amazing synthesis of technology and nature that is citizen science,” explains Judy.
“We also cater to adult learners. Many are craving knowledge on simple things such as how to plant a plant, how to recognise our pollinators and how to be a creative citizen scientist!”
WHAT: National School Citizen Science B&B BioBlitz
WHEN: September 2022, National Biodiversity Month in the week of September 7th (National Threatened Species Day).
Further reading on citizen science
Article by Dr Judy Friedlander in The Conversation Take a closer look: how more and more students are catching the citizenscience bug
The Conversation Nature is hiding in every nook of Australia’s cities – just look a little closer and you’ll find it
IA NSW blog Mapping citizen science
IA NSW blog Citizen science in Australia classrooms
IA NSW blog Big Bushfire BioBlitz
Australian Citizen Science Association
NSW Dept of Planning and Environment What is citizen science?
CSIRO Citizen science projects
Atlas of Living Australia Citizen Science