Author: Amy Slocombe

Notice of 2019 ACSA AGM

ACSA would like to extend you an invitation to attend the 2019 Annual General Meeting of of the Australian Citizen Science Association and elections for two General Member management committee positions.

During the AGM we will provide:

  • An overview of our achievements from the year;
  • A summary of the 2018-19 Financial Statement, and
  • An opportunity for members to elect two new General Members to the management committee.

AGENDA

1:00pm – Doors Open

1:00pm to 1:15pm – Registration / Networking

1:15pm – Annual General Meeting

2:00pm – Close

DETAILS

Monday 11th November, 2019

Meeting Room 450 | Level 4 Carslaw Building F07 | Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney, NSW 2006 (Meeting Room 450 directions)

For those unable to attend in person, we will be offering the meeting as a Zoom meeting (details to come), and we will also live stream it via our Facebook page.

Interested in joining the Management Committee?

Being involved in the ACSA Management Committee is a highly rewarding experience which provides members with an opportunity to engage with peers, professionals and the community to help advance citizen science both within Australia and globally.  Nominating for a Management Committee position shows your willingness to be a crucial part of the ACSA team for 2020 and beyond. You are committing to attend a minimum of one committee meeting a month. For the Terms of Reference of the Management Committee, and list of basic responsibilities of each position, please click here.

We ask that you fill out and submit the nomination form. All nominations will be reviewed by the current committee, and someone from ACSA will be in contact with you. Nomination deadline is Monday 28th October, 2019.

Nomination Form

Questions?

Please contact Amy Slocombe on 0423 902 810.

Member Spotlight: Monique Van Sluys

Name: Monique Van Sluys

Role: Wildlife Conservation Officer

Organisation: Taronga Conservation Society Australia

How long have you been a member of ACSA?: Since November 2017

Why did you join ACSA?: I have been involved with ACSA since the early discussions to create a citizen science network back in 2013-14. To join ACSA as a founding member was an easy and natural decision. I believe that the wide community should be involved with science for a better understanding of what it takes to create knowledge.

What do you love about citizen science?: I do appreciate the opportunities citizen science creates for the wider community to engage with different aspects of science, to foster public participation and curiosity regarding the scientific process. It is inspiring for individuals to make a difference and contribute to the broader science community through sharing knowledge and collaborating data.

What is the most awesome citizen science project you have been involved in and why?: I haven’t been extensively involved with citizen science projects. The first project I had been involved with was to identify galaxies for a NASA project – very cool! They all looked a blur to me at the start!

Member Spotlight: Scott Bell

A bit about me: I’m Scott Bell, a fifth generation Tasmanian, married, and retired from General Practice at the end of 2006. I was fortunate to be able to purchase 640 acres of varied bushland, close to the coast in North Eastern Tasmania, in 2007. I’ve protected it with a covenant, apart from 2%, which is set aside for a building envelope.

Scott with the lighthouse at Tasman Island, where he does voluntary work with the “Friends of Tasman Island”

Role: Retiree, home builder, citizen scientist, volunteer, community member

How long have you been an ACSA member?: I just joined last month

Why did you join ACSA?: To share ideas with other citizen scientists, to help me achieve my citizen science project goals

How have you used citizen science on your property?: Initially, I invited some local Wildlife Carers to use the site for the release of rehabilitated animals. An early approach to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Project resulted in the construction of a 50 acre biosecure enclosure, for breeding disease free devils. And a number of other groups are regularly involved in activities on the site – Field Naturalists, other Conservation Landowners, a local school group, and occasionally a Threatened Species group. And of course, family and friends participate.

What is the most awesome citizen science project you have been involved in and why? In 2018, I was involved in a state wide citizen science project, undertaking a census of wedge tailed eagles. I’d previously been monitoring fauna, in a slap dash fashion, periodically trapping, or trail camera photographing. I’ve since tried to be more diligent, recording dates and sites where trappings occur. There is still a way to go, in terms of developing more rigorous systems. Perhaps by sharing ideas with other citizen scientists, I’ll be able to achieve this goal. And also finishing the house building project will free up some extra time……

 

If you would like to share your citizen science story, or would to nominate a fellow ACSA member to be featured in our monthly member spotlight, please let us know!

Nominate for a role on the ACSA Committee!

It’s an election year for ACSA, which means that ACSA Members are eligible to nominate for a position on our Management Committee! We have two General Member positions coming up in November. We are looking for motivated, enthusiastic people who have a little bit of time available to dedicate to growing ACSA and helping us achieve our strategic goals.

Skills or experience in fundraising, grant writing, graphic design and/or WordPress would be advantageous! And the perks are that you get to work with a group of motivated citizen science lovers and shape the future direction of ACSA!

For more information about what being on the Management Committee entails, please refer to our Terms of Reference.

If you would like to nominate, please click here to access the nomination form. Nominations are due Monday 28th October.

Tell us more – updating your ACSA member profile

Two of the key findings from the Member Survey we conducted last year are:

  • people are seeking a community through ACSA, and
  • members are most interested in exchanging knowledge & experiences, and building a professional network.

To help facilitate these wishes, we’ve expanded the ‘My ACSA Profile’ section on our website and invite you to enter additional information about yourself and your citizen science experience / engagement. We hope that this will help foster that sense of community and enable you to learn more about other members interests and skill sets, which may help achieve that goal of building a professional network. This information will only visible to other ACSA members who are logged in to the membership portal. 

We are also working on a search function, which we hope, in time, will allow you to search for ACSA members who are based in Western Australia and who are interested in human health, for example. This sort of capability will be fantastic in terms of allowing you to connect with others in your field, or in terms of finding the right person to answer a question you may have.

We invite you to update your ACSA member profile now. Click on the link below, select My member profile > Profile > Edit.

 

Get that job! CV & Cover Letter tips and tricks

I want that job.
What should my CV look like?
What do I include in my cover letter?

Presenting an exclusive opportunity for ACSA members only, this training will help you understand what Government and other employers are looking for when reviewing job applications.

Presented by our Chair Erin and Vice-Chair Stephanie, who between them have 26 years’ experience in the government sector, you will learn how to best structure, format and present your CV and cover letter to give you the best chance of being selected for interview.

Sound good? Please register your interest and we’ll contact you with further details soon.

Not yet a member? You can sign up here!

Rise of the citizen scientist: ACSA Chair featured in Sydney Morning Herald

“With the growing need for scientific data and the barrier to entry lower than ever, researchers are increasingly turning to citizen science to help drive their projects”

ACSA Chair Erin Roger featured in an excellent article by the Brisbane Times on August 19, about the rise of citizen science and the increasing movement toward using people power to drive research. The article was then picked up by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age! The message is spreading.

You can read the full article here.

How Cooloola Coastcare hatched Cooloola TurtleCare with a seed grant from the Australian Citizen Science Association

By Lindy Orwin, Cooloola Coastcare

Worldwide, marine turtles are at risk. But on the Cooloola Coast in the Gympie region of Queensland, where several endangered, vulnerable and threatened species (including the green, loggerhead, hawksbill and flatback turtles) live, there are some extra challenges. This is an area of dynamic sand movement and many 4WD tourist vehicles use the beach daily, especially during school holidays, because the beach is a gazetted ‘road’. Young hatchlings whose nests survive the king tides and storm surge of the crazy Queensland storms, have to run the gauntlet to survive.

The Cooloola Coast turtle breeding beaches urgently need monitoring and the community needs education about marine turtle behaviour if the turtles trying to nest in this area are to be successful. These beaches and those to the south are vitally important because sand temperature determines the gender of the hatchlings. Only beaches south of Bundeberg are cool enough to result in male turtles, to balance the feminisation of turtles north of this location.

In 2017, one nest was laid right next to the Lifesaver’s Tower on the main swimming beach. It was sadly lost during the first night to the ravages of a large high tide. Luckily for Cooloola turtles, a very experienced turtle carer with extensive experience around the world in turtle rescues, relocating turtle nests and tagging turtles, Joan Burnett, moved into our area. Now her work has been fast tracked thanks to an ACSA Seed Grant!

(Left) Joan Burnett, Turtle Citizen Scientist and (Right) Treasurer and Turtle Volunteer, Nancy Haire, prepare materials for turtle education events.

Cooloola Coastcare has been able to rally a merry band of volunteers together and start an education program for the community. In the last few weeks, members of the public have reported stranded and sick turtles and our team has been able to help out in the rescues and collect data about several turtles. With the help of the ACSA Seed Grant, the TurtleCare Program is well underway and plans are being ‘hatched’ for more Cooloola volunteers to be trained at the Mon Repos Turtle Research Centre in the 2019-20 turtle season. We’re changing the survival rate of marine turtles one turtle at a time. In July and August, we’ve been involved in rescuing a turtle from a crab pot, assisting a turtle found floating on the surface and collecting data about deceased turtles.

Turtle education will also be a feature of the upcoming National Science Week STEAMzone Festival in Gympie with Joan’s newest educational resource…a realistic model of a hatching turtle nest complete with the moonrise over the sea.

Our newest educational resource…a realistic model of a hatching turtle nest complete with the moonrise over the sea

While there are many tourist photos of marine turtles in the Cooloola Coast area taken by campers, kayakers, fishermen and divers, there is little scientific data about the numbers of marine turtles trying to lay their eggs on Rainbow Beach.  Data collected about turtles stranded and rescued by the Citizen Scientists is adding to the knowledge base.

A partnership has been established with the Sunshine Coast TurtleCarers for shared training and collaboration. Cooloola TurtleCare will promote broad and meaningful participation in citizen science by our TurtleCare volunteers, local residents and tourist visitors.

Dr Lindy Orwin, Coordinator, Cooloola Coastcare and turtle volunteer, Murray, look for any remaining eggs in a nest site exposed during Cyclone Oma

SA Science Excellence Awards – congratulations Philip!

A huge congratulations to our former Chair, Dr. Philip Roetman, who on Friday 9 August was awarded the “Unsung Hero of Science Communication” at the South Australian Science Excellence Awards.

Dr Roetman founded Discovery Circle, a major citizen science initiative based out of the University of South Australia, which delivered projects to understand certain animal species. He was one of the driving forces behind last years #CitSciOz18 Conference and continues to be an active and valuable member of our South Australian Chapter.

Watch 

Congratulations Philip on a well deserved award.

Member Spotlight: Tess Hayes

Name: Tess Hayes

Role: Masters student; Vice Chair – ACSA Victoria; formally Citizen Science Officer, EPA Victoria Citizen Science Program

How long have you been an ACSA member?: Since December 2017

Why did you join ACSA?: I have always been extremely grateful for the community that exists among citizen science practitioners. There is a willingness to collaborate, to share ideas and come together with a solution focus to unpack common challenges that confront citizen science projects. I joined ACSA in late 2017 in order to attend the upcoming conference. After being involved for a while in an informal citizen science group in Victoria, it seemed a logical next step in widening my citizen science circle.

What do you love about citizen science?: The thing I love most about citizen science projects are the connections you can make and the strength and relevance able to be achieved through citizen science partnerships. I’m most interested in projects where knowledge partnerships are created. Working in the role of citizen science practitioner, you either broker, transfer or communicate knowledge between science/scientists and citizens. It’s changing the way we do science and I think that’s exciting and beneficial for the future of science.

What is the most awesome citizen science project you have been involved in and why? The best citizen science project I have been involved in was during my role at EPA Victoria. I led a water quality-monitoring project; Caring for Waterhole Creek. The project fostered a partnership between the community, local catchment management authority and EPA. These partners where brought together by a common interest in ensuring the health and protection of Waterhole Creek waterway. The project involved water monitoring by both citizens and EPA for different parameters, combining both data sets enabled understanding of water quality to ensure ecosystem function was maintained and contributed to the atheistic of the area. The project was a real meeting in the middle, where both citizens and scientists learnt from each other, shared their different and common knowledge and experiences to make a fit-for-purpose project.

Tess conducting water quality testing for the Caring for Waterhole Creek project

If you would like to share your citizen science story, or would to nominate a fellow ACSA member to be featured in our monthly member spotlight, please let us know!