Be a citizen scientist at botanic gardens

30 August 2016

About 30 Albury Public School students helped open a ClimateWatch Trail at Albury Botanic Gardens in a joint project from AlburyCity and Murray Local Land Services.

Visitors on the Albury Botanic Gardens ClimateWatch trail will be able to use a free ClimateWatch smartphone app to find out about plants and animals that can be spotted in the gardens, such as the distinctive Eastern Spinebill or the crimson bells of the Illawarra Flame Tree. They may then record their sightings of flowering plants or swooping birds.

“This not only helps scientists gather vital information, but also trains your observational skills and teaches you about different species,” the Director of Research Programs at Earthwatch Australia, Justin Foster, said. “Anyone can be a ClimateWatcher. All it takes is keeping your eyes open to the nature around you.”

ClimateWatch is a national citizen science network that focuses on gathering meaningful environmental data by expanding public participation in research.

It was jointly developed by Earthwatch Australia, Bureau of Meteorology and the University of Melbourne. It has so far attracted more than 20,000 users who have made close to 100,000 sightings. Every Australian can be a citizen scientist by collecting and recording data through ClimateWatch.

AlburyCity Mayor Hank van de Van encouraged visitors to the gardens to use the ClimateWatch app because it aimed to recruit everyday Australians to help collect scientific information.

Trish Bowen, from Murray Local Land Services, said: “It is important to support initiatives that increase the understanding of the impacts of climate variability and long term climate change as well as increase the community understanding, appreciation and interaction with the natural environment.”  

The Albury Botanic Gardens ClimateWatch Trail is supported by AlburyCity and Murray Local Land Services with funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme.