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Citizen Science
  FATS data and Gazetting Wallingat National Park contribution
Dr Arthur White, president of the NSW Frog and Tadpole Study Group (FATS), looks at how long-term data collection can produce positive results for the environment. FATS is a community group so it has member who range from everyday families to professional herpetologists and academics. FATS has always tried to have a semi-scientific focus and has a long term project that is a good example of what citizen science can achieve. FATS has had regular field trips since 1983 to an area on the northern side of Smith’s Lake, the Wallingat State Forest. The forest has large numbers of animals including 14 threatened species, seven of which were first identified by FATS members’ information ánd are recorded into the NSW Wildlife Atlas as a result of the data reported by FATS. In the early 1990s the state government was interested in creating new national parks around areas of high regional biodiversity. They used the Wildlife Atlas and ultimately gazetted the state forest to become Wallingat National Park based on those fauna records.

  Something new and different:Hollows as Homes project Australia wide
Here is a new Citizen Science project that has the potential to be nation wide and longterm with appeal to both rural and city dwellers. And one of great importance to many Australian animals from frogs to microbats; birds and even swamp wallabies. Dr John Martin, wildlife ecologist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, outlines a citizen science project called Hollows as Homes. The loss of hollow-bearing trees has been listed nationally as a threatening process for a range of biodiversity. Over 300 native species rely on tree hollows for breeding, roosting or protection. The project is encouraging people across Australia to report. There is liaison with Landcare, catchment management, natural resource management, local service groups, bush regenerators and councils. Dr Martin sees the project running for many years.

  Surveys of large urban birds
Note: some surveys are by research students and not Citizen Science at this stage

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and Australian White Ibis
Dr John Martin, wildlife ecologist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, outlines two long running citizen science project in Sydney that use Wingtags for durable and readily viewable identification of the wild birds and does not require recapture or the errors in reading that can occur with the more complex leg banding rings. The research has been underway for five to eight years and the Ibis studies have longer banding records to draw on. The projects both rely on the interest and input from the community in reporting sightings of the birds and the different perceptions many people have of the Cockatoos compared with the 'nuisance' Ibis seem to affect their interest in reporting sightings. This is a collaborative project with the Australian Museum and University of Sydney. 
The Australian White Ibis wing tag research in Sydney
Natural Selection: Dr John Martin, wildlife ecologist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, outlines a citizen science project with a focus on the Australian white ibis. The Wingtag project started in 2008 but there had been banding of birds for eight years before that. Wing tags are better than leg bands because they are more visually obvious and it is easier to remember a three digit number and one colour. Sightings can be reported using the same app used so successfully with the Royal Australian Botanic Gardens in Sydney study of Sulphur crested cockatoos (Google wingtag) on an Apple or android phone. Birds in Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens get all their food from those small green spaces and don’t move from those sites. Other birds fly 30km to a landfill site because the food resources they provide are so rich. The Australian white ibis is an Australian native but was formerly incorrectly thought to be an exotic species, the African sacred ibis) and is still recovering from this incorrect labelling as an alien species and therefore competition with our own wildlife. While locals may dislike the boldness of some ibis in parks, they are quite thrilling for our international visitors who can so easily approach and feed these elegant birds in public parks!
Brush Turkey join the Wingtags flock
In Site Giving InsightDr John Martin, wildlife ecologist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, explains the branching out of the Wingtag citizen science project to include the Australian Brush-turkey. Brush-turkeys are an old world bird. The male birds build mounds that look like a pile of mulch (5m round and 1m high) which incubates the eggs that females lay. This is an old nesting behaviour that modern birds don’t use. 
New Settlers
Professor Darryl Jones, urban ecologist from Griffith University, outlines how white ibis have adapted to living in Brisbane. Like lots of Australian birds Australian white ibis are nomadic and move wherever the conditions are correct. It was only 15 years ago that the first white ibis turned up in parks in the middle of Brisbane. Recently Brisbane Airport wanted to know if the unwanted ibis there were coming from a rubbish tip (aka transfer station) 11km away.
Ibis and people in parks: who interacts with whom?
Professor Darryl Jones, urban ecologist and Deputy Director, Environment Futures Research Institute at Griffith University, explains a new survey into urban ibis in Brisbane, one with some surprising results. Indya Wilson spent hundreds of hours of quietly watching and recording the way people and ibis interact and found that overwhelmingly the birds were approached and encouraged by people. The myth of bold and aggressive food stealing by the ibisseems to be another example of the bad press these natives have long endured - including for some decades, of being regarded as an invasive alien import.
How are our birds of prey faring
Professor Darryl Jones introduces a new citizen science project for the Gold Coast examining four of their common birds of prey

  BowerBird Social Science Website (series)
Ken Walker, Senior Curator for Insects at Museum Victoria, uncovers the positive aspects of citizen science which has led to the development of Bowerbird, described as a social web based biological sand pit. With funding from the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) Bowerbird was launched in May 2013 and is the first Australian social science network.

Down to Earth Science: Professor Michael Mahony from the University of Newcastle discusses his long standing involvement with programs offered by Earthwatch, an international organisation that has citizen science as a major part of its research approach. Unlike well known non-government organisations like Greenpeace or the World Wildlife Fund which have a political and policy approach, Earthwatch has a major focus on providing quality opportunities for interested community members to be part of actual science research projects, most of which are environmentally oriented.

  People power: a valuable scientific resource
Many studies in environmental research are only made possible as a result of the generous involvement of volunteers as citizen scientists. Since engagement with scientists is an important part of citizen science projects, one benefit for citizens is that that they are able to learn new things from experts in the field. Dr John Gollan discusses his experience with three citizen science research studies, including one that evaluated the quality of data collected by citizens and by scientists

  Blue Cloud Spatial comes to the Kimberley
Dr Tom McMurray, President of the Marine Ventures Foundation discusses a remarkable and popwerful citizen science program called Blue Cloud Spatial that benefits from social networking that allows people to not only collect observations but to share them and smart phones give people access to geo location tools, high quality pictures and observatory comments, all of which can be automatically updated to websites.

  The Barbara Hardy Centre for Sustainable Urban Environments
Philip Roetman, from the Barbara Hardy Institute at the University of South Australia, discusses a series of Citizen Science research projects whose success reflected the widespread involvement and interest of the general community.

  People power in environmental research
Professor Chris Daniels, from the University of South Australia, details the innovative approach to research that underpins the role of the Barbara Hardy Centre for Sustainable Urban Environments. At its heart this research Centre at the University of South Australia conducts research into the relationship between people and the natural environment.

  The great birdbath data collection project (series)
Associate Professor Darryl Jones from Griffith University has taken on an unusual project in wildlife study that is generating plenty of community interest from across Australia.

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