The last 12 months has seen an explosion requests for the public to be involved in science projects. Scientists need people on the ground to report what is happening across the country, from identifying ants to the Great Cocky Count there is something for everyone. Through this period of self-isolation there is no better time to connect with your outdoor space (with your family) and discover what nature lives under the bark of the trees, in upper canopy or in the shrubs. I have a frog who has hidden itself under the foliage of a Tillandsia, bunkered down and has found the perfect home. There is a local food source with the bugs being attracted to the window and a water bowl close by. See what you can discover.
Simple citizen science projects to keep kids connected to their backyard through school closures:
- Download the Frog ID app from the Australian Museum. You can record frog calls and submit photos for identification. You can even listen to frogs from the state you live.
- Place a bird bath in a prominent spot and monitor how many different species of birds visit the birdbath at a nominated time through the day.
- Everyone nominates a plant in the garden and explores how many different types of critters live in that plant. Is it different depending upon the time of the day or varying weather patterns?
- Depending what state you live in, the state-run agricultural department will have many open citizen science projects on the go. Check out Ant Blitz or Pestwatch. Monitoring pests in your back yard is a front-line defense for our biosecurity team. Many exotic pests and diseases across the world haven’t reached Australia and by keeping an eye out for what is in your local backyard or courtyard could help keep them out. Put the period of self – isolation to good use.