Exploring the Power of Citizen Science and Nature Connection: The Great Southern Bioblitz Journey

Exploring the Power of Citizen Science and Nature Connection: The Great Southern Bioblitz Journey

Blogs, CS Project, Engaging citizens, Field-based citizen science, Grants, Social research in CS
Authors: Larissa Braz Sousa, Nicole Miller, Seamus Doherty, Peter Crowcroft, Michelle Neil, Stephen Fricker Across the globe's diverse landscapes, a quiet revolution is taking place. It's a movement where everyday people, armed with curiosity and a passion for nature, are driving scientific discovery forward. This revolution is citizen science, and at its core are initiatives like the Great Southern Bioblitz (GSB), celebrating the awe-inspiring biodiversity of the southern hemisphere—from the majestic eucalyptus trees to the intricate beauty of tiny species. The GSB is a citizen science initiative designed to observe as many species as possible during the Southern Hemisphere's spring. Launched in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating bushfires in Oceania and South America, the GSB was inspired by the City Nature Challenge. Beginning in Australia, it quickly spread…
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AI-powered photos to help predict catastrophic Australian bushfires

AI-powered photos to help predict catastrophic Australian bushfires

Blogs, CS Project, Engaging citizens, Field-based citizen science
The National Bushfire Resilience Network (NOBURN) is a citizen science project empowering people to use their mobile phones to collect information that will help predict bushfire hotspots and minimise their impact. The project is the culmination of two years’ research through an alliance of world-renowned researchers in artificial intelligence, forestry, human factors and science communication at the University of the Sunshine Coast and University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute for Machine Learning, in partnership with Noosa Shire Council and funded through the Federal Department of Industry, Science and Resources. NOBURN was developed in the wake of the 2019-20 bushfires that burned more than 10 million hectares of forest, destroyed 2000 homes and claimed dozens of lives. For more information, check out their 2-minute video from researcher, Dr Sam Van Holsbeeck, or…
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Citizen Science in QLD Schools 

Citizen Science in QLD Schools 

Blogs, Communication & promotion, Education, Engaging citizens
In June our social media moderator, scientist, keen citizen scientist and #CitSciOz23 Conference co-convener, Michelle Neil was invited to present to over 150 Queensland primary and secondary school students and their teachers at the 2023 Sustainability and Science Schools Showcase hosted by Queensland’s Office of the Chief Scientist at Queensland Museum’s The Edge.   How do you galvanise the next generation of citizen scientists into action? How do you explain citizen science in fewer than 7 slides and under 3 minutes?  Introducing the tools of citizen science  Have you seen our citizen scientists’ t-shirts? The pictures represent the tools of a citizen scientist. You might use one tool for your project or all of them – there really is no limit.  The tools include; a computer mouse and mobile phone to…
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Citizen science – there’s something for everyone, everywhere

Citizen science – there’s something for everyone, everywhere

Blogs, Communication & promotion, Education, Engaging citizens, Meetings and Events
ACSA-WA member Dr Tegan Douglas was thrilled to be able to present to the Lesmurdie branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A) earlier this month. True to the Noongar season of Makuru, the weather was cold and blustery, but not even hail was enough to stop this group of curious minds and life-long learners from gathering at Falls Farm in Lesmurdie to hear about how easy it is to get involved with citizen science. Photo courtesy of Heidi Pember Tegan introduced the group to ACSA, demonstrated how citizen science worked, and the benefits that science and society can get from it. Using her background in bird conservation, she drew examples of how the power of citizen science can track population trends in native and introduced bird species, and…
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ACSA-SA and Cosmos Science collaboration launch

ACSA-SA and Cosmos Science collaboration launch

Blogs, Collaboration & partnerships, Engaging citizens, Meetings and Events
By Isabella Wilson and Katie Irvine of ACSA-SA To celebrate a new collaboration between the South Australian Chapter of ACSA and Cosmos Science we teamed up to hold a launch event 'How to Become a Citizen Scientist' at RiAus @ The Science Exchange, Adelaide, in May. Project coordinators displayed flyers, posters, and banners and enjoyed the nibbles and company. The event aligned with the submission date for the South Australian Government Citizen Science small grants applications - so everyone was ready to let their hair down and celebrate! Cosmos Science is now endeavouring to publish weekly Citizen Science content and is on the hunt nationally for stories for publication. Click here to submit your story  Cosmos has 1.5-2 million readers each month online, a little over half of whom are…
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New insect species discovered by high school citizen scientists!

New insect species discovered by high school citizen scientists!

Blogs, CS Project, Education, Grants
This is an exciting story you may have seen in the news lately. Beerwah State High School students in Queensland have recently announced the discovery of a new insect species, which was found by Year 8 students participating in the Insect Investigators project. This makes Beerwah SHS the latest out of 8 schools who have discovered previously unidentified insects since this project began. They announced the discovery on their Facebook page: After almost 12 months, the DNA tests and study by University of Adelaide (@uniofadelaide) taxonomists Mollie-Rosae Slater-Baker (a PhD candidate) and Dr Erinn Fagan-Jeffries, show that we have discovered a new species of wasp.It is a tiny parasitic wasp in the genus Mirax which lay eggs in caterpillars which then eat the caterpillar from the inside-out!Beerwah SHS Facebook page…
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CitSciOz21: reflections & summaries

Blogs, Communication & promotion, Conferences, Meetings and Events
By Luise Manning Luise was the recipient of one of ACSA’s complimentary conference regsiterations, available to those people who did not have organisational support to attend CitSciOz21 Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, the 3rd ACSA Conference, which was planned to be held on the Gold Coast last year, went from a face-to-face conference to an on-line event. The induction videos on how to use the platform were useful to test your equipment before attending the conference. This was my first ACSA conference and I was quite impressed by the ease of registering and the easy-to-understand home page containing the timetable of events for each day. It was very professionally done and provided a wide variety of topics and content.  The benefits of the on-line conference meant that even if two…
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Finding opportunities in the apparent chaos: citizen science and marine debris

Finding opportunities in the apparent chaos: citizen science and marine debris

Blogs, Collaboration & partnerships, Communication & promotion
Towards a nationally focused citizen science monitoring strategy for marine debris By Jordan Gacutan, PhD Candidate | Centre for Marine Science and Innovation | UNSW, Sydney As Murphy’s law states, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong", which rings true in the events which partly derailed/delayed the production of training materials for marine debris monitoring, supported by the ACSA seed grant that we won in 2020. But just as often, and as many a PhD student will attest, opportunities arise from the chaos. Tackling marine debris through citizen science At the University of New South Wales, we are tackling the growing problem of marine debris by using citizen science data across Australia to inform practical opportunities for management. The work partners with the Tangaroa Blue Foundation and the Australian…
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Volunteering for ACSA: a win-win

Volunteering for ACSA: a win-win

Blogs, Collaboration & partnerships
By Faiza Sayed My experience of working as a volunteer data analyst for ACSA has been enjoyable, enriching and rewarding. The concept of Citizen Science and the work that ACSA does has always inspired me for being able to educate, productively engage and empower the young and old alike. This is what my team and I strive to do through STEM Catalyst as well. Volunteering with ACSA enabled me to bring together my passions for empowering people and working with data / technology.  Not only did I incredibly enjoy the job at hand, but also had some great work to add to my profile, landing me a full-time role as a Data Analyst. A big thank you to Amy and Alice for giving Nasreen and I the opportunity to come…
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River Health Assessments Underway in Wingecarribee thanks to ACSA Seed Grant

River Health Assessments Underway in Wingecarribee thanks to ACSA Seed Grant

Blogs, Communication & promotion
By Karen Guymer Getting to know Wingecarribee Waterways The Wingecarribee Shire, also known as the Southern Highlands, features meandering rivers, tranquil creeks and majestic waterfalls. This water supports our towns, farmlands, forests and biodiversity. Council is responsible for many thousands of kilometres of waterways within 3000ha across 38 bushland reserves within Wingecarribee Shire. Winning the ACSA Seed Grant in 2020 was fantastic as it enabled us to train council staff in the Bushcare, Natural Resources and Sustainability Services Teams in understanding more about river heath assessments and the tool used to do this, the Rapid Appraisal of Riparian Condition (RARC). The hands-on field day led by Lori Gould, Rivers of Carbon Program Manager with the Australian River Restoration Centre (ARRC), provided theoretical and practical skills and knowledge for staff. As…
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