Community Partnerships - Citizen science

Community Partnerships - Citizen science

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Search for SEQ Catchments’ projects here e.g search ‘biodiversity’ for biodiversity related projects.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest from people interested in sharing their data with SEQ Rapid Maps, a tool with more than 80 data sets used to inform decision making of our region's natural assets. Find out more.

At SEQ Catchments we recognise that community involvement is the key to protecting our environment and the natural resources that underpin our economy and way of life. 

It’s the work of community groups and individual landholders who get out on their own doing the hands-on, grassroots activities that make all the difference.

That’s why we’re supporting citizen science initiatives across our region like recording wildlife, collecting water samples, planting trees, monitoring mangroves and seagrass, and reporting changes in the local environment.

What is citizen science?

Citizen science is a hands-on approach to engaging people to gather data, ask questions and seek evidence for decisions. It broadens the definition of the expert as it is often carried out by large volunteer networks who can add to our understanding of the environment by contributing their local knowledge and expertise.

Citizen science projects are almost as varied as the community that contribute to them. They can be run as short campaigns, such as bio-blitzes, or they can be long running monitoring programs that allow us to understand how our environment changes over time.

How is the data used?

Citizen scientists generally get involved in collecting data to better understand their local area. Many citizen science projects contribute data to conventional research projects managed by research institutions such as universities and government agencies. 

Collecting data also gives the community a better idea of how the environment is changing over time, and can assist people to talk about these changes with their local communities. 

With projected climate change, citizen scientists are becoming more important than ever before in their role of monitoring current and future environmental change. Importantly, contributions from citizen scientists can help to build our understanding of the condition and extent of our natural assets, and can guide improved policies, planning and management actions. 

During 2016, SEQ Catchments conducted a survey of citizen scientists in our region. This survey collected information on the type of projects being conducted, and the outcomes the projects are delivering. You can read the report online here.

What are some examples of citizen science in South East Queensland?

We have a very active citizen science community in South East Queensland who gather data on a multitude of plants and animals, ecosystems and processes. This includes projects investigating bird, koala, spotted quoll, coral reef, mangrove, seagrass and sea turtle populations, which can provide us with an indication of how our climate is changing.

One of the largest examples of citizen science in South East Queensland is the Community Water Quality Monitoring Program. This program involves the community and increases awareness and understanding of waterway issues. It has been running since 2005 and today it consists of hundreds of community volunteers who collect and test water samples from all across the region. 

You can find out more about a number of citizen science projects operating in South East Queensland on our StoryMap here.

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How can I get involved in citizen science?

You can find plenty of opportunities to get involved in monitoring your local environment listed on the Atlas of Living Australia's Citizen Science Project Finder. Many citizen science projects are national or international, while others are relevant only to a particular location. Have a look through the list of projects and you'll be sure to find something in South East Queensland you are interested in. If you are already engaged in citizen science and your project is not on the Atlas of Living Australia's list, it is easy to register on their website.
 
SEQ Catchments is currently working with the Atlas of Living Australia and the Australian Citizen Science Association to ensure organisations conducting citizen science around our region are listed on the Citizen Science Project Finder. 

There are a number of organisations conducting citizen science around South East Queensland that we have supported:

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Citizen science projects in South East Queensland are supported by SEQ Catchments and the SEQ Catchments Members Association through funding from the Australian Governments National Landcare Programme.