Ever wondered what goes bump in the night? Ever wanted to recognise one frog from another? Perhaps you have a budding environmentalist in the house, or plans for retirement as a would-be field naturalist? Well, your opportunity to join like-minded folk has arrived. From November 3 to 5, the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala (K2W) Partnership is hosting the Wombeyan Caves BioBlitz, a 48hr marathon of expert-led flora and fauna surveys at Wombeyan Caves and Mares Forest.
The weekend is part of a growing Citizen Science movement where every-day Australians work alongside scientists to improve our knowledge of native plants and animals. The data collected is added to the public record and used to plan future conservation projects and manage biodiversity in our national parks and nature reserves.
“A BioBlitz is a concerted effort to discover and record as many living things as possible at a particular location over a set period of time,” says Mary Bonet, K2W Coordinator.
“It’s a festival of science where local naturalists and scientists join with the community to conduct field surveys of everything from insects to birds, bats and orchids,” she says.
“The work results in the creation of substantial species lists and has, in the past, facilitated the discovery of new species, rediscovery of rare species and identification of species where they are not usually found,” Mary says.
Scientists estimate that as many as three in four species remain undiscovered or undescribed. With Australia’s biodiversity at risk from pressures such as habitat destruction, over-exploitation, climate change, and introduced species, there is a need to learn more about native wildlife, so we can better protect and manage our natural heritage.
“Science isn’t just something scientists do. It is something which every single one of us has a stake,” says Mary. “By helping at a BioBlitz, we can all have a role in protecting what makes Australia unique,” Mary says.
The program includes dawn and dusk bird surveys, spotlighting of an evening and other surveys during the day.
“Saturday is our busiest day with a full program of activities thanks to our many partners including Taronga Zoo, National Parks and Wildlife, Australian Museum, Land for Wildlife, WIRES and the National Parks Association and Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.
“Families can engage in science in a way that nurture children’s interest and allows everyone to experience and enjoy science as it is practised while producing valuable and much-needed biodiversity data more widely and thoroughly than scientists could manage alone,” Mary says.
“It’s an enjoyable way to increase knowledge and understanding of local wildlife, habitats and ecology and develop skills in wildlife identification and recording. Anyone is welcome to join in, whether it’s for an evening, a day or the whole weekend.
“You might even discover a new species,” Mary says.
For more information or to book a campsite, go to wombeyancavesbioblitz.eventbrite.com.au.
The Wombeyan Caves Bioblitz is part of the K2W Bush Connect Project ‘Restoring the Glideways of the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala Link’ with funding provided by the NSW Environmental Trust.