29 March 2020
With so many of us staying home practicing physical distancing, now’s a great time to put on your citizen science hat, connect with like-minded nature enthusiasts online, learn about the environment and its wildlife, and help contribute to conservation and wildlife recovery efforts ‒ all from the comfort of your backyard or living room!
April is Citizen Science Month
There’s even more reason to get involved in citizen science in April! Citizen Science Month is an annual effort in April to explore and advance scientific research around the globe. Here’s how you can participate virtually in Citizen Science Month.
Check out all the great Citizen Science Month events, activities and resources on the SciStarter website.
Citizen science projects
Keep the kids occupied while helping scientists! Here is a list of citizen science projects that you and your kids can contribute to. Some involve surveying biodiversity in your backyard, while others can be done entirely indoors.
Not sure what citizen science is?
Scistarter provides a great 30-minute interactive tutorial which introduces the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of citizen science.
Online citizen science projects:
- DigiVol: Lets you go on a ‘virtual expedition’ helping scientists by identifying and tagging animals in wildlife photos.
- Western Shield Camera Watch: Discover the nightlife of the jarrah forest of Western Australia. Analyse camera trap images to manage introduced predators that threaten native wildlife in Western Australia.
Backyard citizen science projects:
- Birdata: Collect and record bird data with BirdLife Australia’s Birdata to gain insight and protect Australia’s birds.
- Brush turkeys: App to help you observe and record behavioural information about the Australian Brush-turkey.
- ClimateWatch: Understand and contribute to climate change research from your home.
- eBird: Virtual birding around the world, quizzes and lots more on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s citizen science app, Bird.
- EchidnaWatch: Wildlife Queensland’s EchidnaWatch program gathers information on the distribution and abundance of echidnas in Queensland.
- Faunawatch: A community-based program run by Wildlife Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Branch, the Faunawatch program collects and compiles sighting information submitted by community volunteers.
- FrogID: The Australian Museum’s FrogID helps you identify and record frog calls.
- iNaturalist: Similar to Questagame, but without the gaming aspect. Explore, record and share your observations of the natural world.
- NatureMapr: A community-based citizen science platform to collect, manage and share species data.
- PlatypusWatch is a community-based program that aims to document where platypus occur so that we can develop a reliable ‘snapshot’ of platypus populations.
- Pollinator Link: A not-for-profit social enterprise helping communities create wildlife corridors for urban spaces. Check out Pollinator Link’s three easy steps to create your own pollinator garden and bring more birds, bees, and butterflies to your garden.
- QuestaGame: Help scientists keep track of biodiversity while playing a fun game outdoors.
- Quoll Seekers Network BioCollect Survey: Have you spotted a quoll in the Mary River Catchment, Qld? QSN is surveying to determine if either spotted-tailed quoll or northern quoll still inhabits the Mary River Catchment. Head to the Atlas of Living Australia BioCollect page to log details of quoll sightings in the area.
- Urban Wildlife App: A citizen science app, which lets you help monitor native wildlife in Australian cities.
Nature & wildlife events, challenges, and backyard blitzes
Citizen Science Month is celebrated in April and with it comes some wonderful backyard challenges, blitzes, and competitions.
- Citizen Science Month: 1-30 April 2020
Citizen Science Month is an annual effort in April to explore and advance scientific research around the globe. Check out on social media #CitSciMonth for things happening to celebrate citizen science internationally and ways to participate virtually.
- Competition: ‘What’s In Your Backyard?’: Closes 1 May 2020
Costa and Junior Landcare are asking kids across Australia to grab a camera and snap photos of the flora and fauna in their backyard. Prizes to be won.
- iNaturalist’s City Nature Challenge 2020: 24-27 April 2020
Be part of the global City Nature Challenge. Document nature while maintaining social distancing.
- Queensland’s Natural Wonders Awards: Closes 15 May 2020
Enter the Queensland Conservation Council’s photo competition.
- Watergum Backyard BioBlitz – Celebrate Citizen Science Month: 1-30 April 2020
Celebrate Citizen Science and find out what’s in your backyard! Running from 1 to 30 April for the Gold Coast, Logan and Scenic Rim.
- Wild Pollinator Count: 12-19 April 2020 (held twice a year)
This project invites participants to watch any flowering plant for just ten minutes, and record insects that visit the flowers. The aim is to boost knowledge on wild pollinator activity.
Nature live from your living room!
Wildlife webcams of animals around Australia to watch from home.
- Australian Bird Webcam
- EagleCam : Sydney White-Bellied Sea-Eagle Cam
- Feed Chickens from your Living Room
- Koala Cam : Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
- Live Royal Albatross Cam
- Penguin Burrow Cam
- Reef Cam : Port Phillip Bay
- Tasmanian Wildlife at Cradle Mountain
- Zoos Victoria has set up live streams at some Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo enclosures
Have your say
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Review
Don’t miss this once in a decade opportunity to have your say and help strengthen Australia’s environmental protection laws. Submissions due by 17 April 2020. Read Wildlife Queensland’s key issues of concern.
- Single-use Plastics in Queensland
Have your say on the Queensland Government’s proposed legislation to phase out certain plastic products. Submissions due by 15 April 2020.
More nature & wildlife resources and activities
Nature and wildlife colouring-in and puzzles
- Free downloads of nature and wildlife for colouring in. (Gabby Malpas)
- Fun activities to do with your kids at home to learn more about wildlife (IFAW)
- Platypus puzzle and activity book: Download the activity book for some colouring-in, puzzles and more. Created by Wildlife Queensland platypus expert, Tamielle Brunt.
Books, videos, photography
- ABC Radio School: Become a nature detective with Costa Georgiadis: Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis takes kids on a trip into the garden to become nature detectives!
- Aussie natural history photographers to follow (Australian Geographic).
- Back from the Brink – Richmond Birdwing (Natura Pacific): Video about the Department of Environment and Science Richmond birdwing butterfly captive breeding program.
- Explore Queensland Museum Network from home.
- Nature’s stories: Does your child know more about dinosaurs than dugongs? (The Conversation).
- Trawl through Australia’s natural history collections from your couch (Australian Geographic).
- Wildlife books & posters from the Wildlife Queensland online shop: Keep the kids happy and learning with our range of wildlife books and posters.
- Wildlife Queensland Coastal Citizen Science: Find out about Wildlife Queensland’s Seagrass-Watch and MangroveWatch projects in Moreton Bay.