updated: 27 September 2020
Switch screen time for green time over the school holidays (and beyond) and plan how to connect kids to nature.
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/outdoor 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 activities and events
- City of Gold Coast’s NaturallyGC Program offers a range of free and low-cost nature-based events, activities and workshops across the Gold Coast.
- Brisbane City Council holiday programs at environment centres. Participate in free activities designed for children aged 4 to 12 at Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre and Downfall Creek Bushland Centre these school holidays.
- City of Ipswich Kids go Wild Program offers a range of fun, free activities that encourage kids to get involved in our local environment and learn about ways to become more sustainable.
- Ecosure Ibis Annual Census (19 – 25 October 2020). Help us better understand the ibis and all the great things they do by counting all their friends during national bird week. The information will assist scientists and decision-makers to better conserve and manage this important Aussie icon!
- Gateway Visitor Centres Holiday Program – Spring 2020 The Gateway Visitor Centres of David Fleay Wildlife Park and Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre offer seasonal holiday programs during Queensland school holidays. Each program is packed with lots of fun nature-based activities about conservation and wildlife to help keep kids active and engaged during the school holidays.
- How to build a nest box.
- How to build a frog hotel.
- How to build a frog pond.
- National Bird Week and Aussie Backyard Bird Count (19 – 25 October 2020).
- Wild Pollinator Count (8 – 15 November 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
Nature and wildlife resources
Nature and wildlife colouring-in, puzzles, activity books
- 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.
- Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors conservation activities for kids and families to do together at home.
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.
- Trawl through Australia’s natural history collections from your couch (Australian Geographic).
- Wildlife books & posters from the Wildlife Queensland online shop: Learn about Australia’s amazing wildlife 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.