South Coast locals are invited to become ‘citizen naturalists’ and record koalas, greater gliders, glossy black cockatoos and other critters they see as part of a collaborative effort to support the post-fire recovery of local wildlife.
The Animals of the Eurobodalla and Lower Shoalhaven survey, hosted on user-friendly nature app iNaturalist, seeks to monitor the populations and whereabouts of local wildlife, particularly rare and threatened species.
Created by local community group, The Coastwatchers Association, the project is funded through the Great Eastern Ranges and WWF-Australia as part of a broader bushfire recovery effort. Records collected by citizen naturalists will be combined with data from ecologist led surveys to identify priority areas on the South Coast where habitat will be protected and regenerated to create corridors for wildlife.
“As locals know, the 2019-2020 bushfires devastated our forests and woodlands and resulted in the injuries and deaths of thousands of animals. Many of those species are still struggling to recover due to the loss of hollow-bearing trees, habitat and food,” says Keith Joliffe from The Coastwatchers Association.
“The iNaturalist survey is helping to build a picture of how our wildlife is faring post-fire and where animals are located so that we can ensure we are working in the highest priority places.”
As well as providing people with an easy way to record their sightings, iNaturalist enables users to interact with others, identify plants and animals, and learn more about their environment.
No special skills or knowledge is needed to participate, with anyone free to join Animals of the Eurobodalla and Lower Shoalhaven via the inaturalist.org platform. For the less tech-savvy, iNaturalist training sessions are being run for South Coast community members, landholders and businesses who want to get involved.
“Anyone can go online and become one of our citizen naturalists and help to support their local wildlife – whether you have a PhD or just love the bush. The survey is also a great way to connect with nature and like-minded people,” says Keith.
How to Join
To join the survey, head to www.inaturalist.org and set up an account by selecting the ‘Sign Up’ button located in the top right hand corner of the site and completing a short form. Once you have registered, you can join the survey here.
iNaturalist App Training
Join the free iNaturalist training sessions for South Coast community members, landholders and businesses: