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Citizen science is scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions. Citizen science is different to other types of volunteering, as you will help with collecting and/or analysing scientific data. Tasks can be done at your own pace and might include:
Remember: Wildlife is wild! When observing animals in their natural habitats keep your distance, and never touch or feed them. Parental supervision is recommended for children undertaking these activities outside the home.
Find out how you can get involved in citizen science with the range of opportunities listed below.
Explore your local area and share your observations to help find out how many wild animals and plants live in your area. You can discover what wild things inhabit Canterbury-Bankstown. Our City has plenty to discover across its many parks, rivers and even in our backyards.
We are calling on citizen scientists of all ages to help document our amazing flora and fauna. You don’t need to be an expert, just snap a photo! Simply make observations about the plants and animals you encounter and upload them to the iNaturalist app.
It’s as easy as see it, snap it, share it.
Find out more:
Help to record pest animal activity to protect our local biodiversity. There are range of different animals which can be reported through the
FeralScan app, including foxes, cats, rabbits, cane toads and deer. Below are a few animals that we are interested in learning more about in Canterbury-Bankstown.
Foxes are an introduced predator that prey on native mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and backyard poultry. You might not see these tricky predators every day, but they do live in our City!
Detailed information about where foxes live, sleep, breed and hunt, and how many there are is very important to help manage them. By reporting sightings and evidence of foxes to FoxScan, we can build a detailed picture of fox movements, and find out how we can best control them.
Find out more
The feral European rabbit is one of the most common mammals in Australia. It causes serious damage to the natural environment, agriculture and, increasingly, urban areas.
Detailed information about where rabbits are in our City is important for their management. By reporting sightings and evidence of rabbits to RabbitScan, we can find out how we can best control them.
Red-eared Slider Turtles [Red-eared Slider Turtle (nsw.gov.au)]are an exotic pest that competes with native turtles for food and spaces to lay in the sun. In the Canterbury-Bankstown area, Red-eared Slider Turtles have been sighted basking on rocks near ponds. However, when the weather is warm and wet these turtles may be seen wandering away from ponds looking for places to lay eggs.
If you see a Red-eared Slider Turtle, write down your location, take a photo of the turtle and report it through the FeralScan website. If you have a Red-eared Slider Turtle, please call the Department of Primary Industries and Environment on 02 6391 3525 to arrange for it to be collected safety.
The information you provide helps us and the Department of Primary Industries and Environment work together to remove this invasive pest from our local environment.
From croaks and barks, to whistles and bleats, every frog species makes a unique sound. Using the FREE FrogID app, you can record the frogs calling around you and help us count Australia’s frogs. Recording frog calls with the FrogID app will help provide scientists with important information for the protection and conservation of frogs.
You can record frog calls at any time of the year, especially during FrogID Week. FrogID Week is Australia’s Biggest Frog Count, held annually for Australians to help record frog calls as a measurement of frog health and distribution around the nation. It aims to monitor where frogs are over time, helping us to understand how frogs and their ecosystems are responding to a changing planet.
Find out more
Australia's freshwater turtles are under serious threat, and they need our help for survival! Research now suggests that many turtle species are declining due to widespread drought, predators like foxes and human activities. To ensure the survival of local turtle population, important information about their distribution needs to be recorded so that area land managers, like us, can identify hotspots for future conservation.
TurtleSAT was developed by the 1 Million Turtles Community Conservation program as a citizen science mapping tool. It allows you to map the location of freshwater turtles in waterways and wetlands across the country. You can assist by recording where you see turtles and their nests, as well as where turtles are injured or killed on the road, or any other evidence of turtles (such as skeletal remains).
Our common backyard species give us the best indication of the health of our natural environment. That’s why each October, we ask local residents to count how many birds they see within 20-minutes in their backyard, local park, or any other area. This provides a snapshot at the same time each year, allowing us to look at trends in our bird communities, and enabling you to make an important contribution to citizen science from your own home!
Counting birds isn’t just a fun activity for you and the environment – spending time observing nature has proven benefits to mental health and well-being. All it takes is 20 minutes in your backyard, local park, or favourite outdoor space – anywhere you can count birds.
The Birds in Backyards Surveys form an important part of research into the birds that live where people live. Surveys are used to track the health of our urban birds, and to monitor the impact of our gardens, outdoor spaces and even our own behaviours on bird populations. They can even help us to understand how different types of gardens can attract different types of birds, and what birds may be avoiding or are negatively affected by.
Birds in Backyards surveys typically run at the beginning of each season, but you can still submit surveys at any time. You can also do as many surveys as you like, as often as you like! All you do is submit at least one 20-minute count of how many birds you see alongside some information about your garden. Anyone with a backyard or common garden, large or small, can take part. There’s no need to be an expert birdwatcher to help, the survey can help you (such as listing 30 common birds in your area with photos).
BirdLife Australia is inviting primary schools across Australia to participate in a FREE Birds in Schools program engaging teachers and students in citizen science, empowering them to make a difference for birds, and increasing biodiversity within schools.
Birds in Schools is aimed at the upper primary levels and provides training and resources, including lesson plans, enabling teachers to guide students through learning and taking action for local birds. All training and materials are available online through BirdLife's e-learning hub, with support provided by BirdLife Australia staff.
Cities, such as Sydney, are better for birds that can adapt their behaviour to suit a changing environment. Big City Birds aims to learn more about some of these birds and how their behaviours have changed, specifically the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian Brush-turkey, Australian White Ibis, Little Corella and Long-billed Corella. These species have all been seen adapting to human built areas and we are seeing more of them in urban areas. Occasionally, these species are considered a nuisance, yet they are all Australian native birds that are doing their best to survive in human altered landscapes.
The information collected will help researchers understand how these species’ behave in suburban areas, as well as identifying the behavioural traits that have allowed some species to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of city living.
Simply report when you see these birds using the Big City Birds app or website, noting their location, behaviours, where they gather together at night and their nesting sites.
Help conserve our threatened species by tagging images (labelling what is in the photo) taken by scientists in the field.
Scientists from the Saving our Species (SoS) program use motion-triggered cameras to capture a variety of threatened species. Once the cameras detect movement, they take a burst of images, which are then downloaded and need to be tagged to identify the animal pictured. Scientists can then use this data to monitor threatened species, fill knowledge gaps, and inform on-ground conservation programs.
However, there is a problem. The cameras take many more photos than can be tagged by scientists alone – this is where you can help.
Scientists are uploading images onto DigiVol, a crowdsourcing website created by the Australian Museum in collaboration with the Atlas of Living Australia. You can now go to DigiVol to begin identifying what animals have been captured within these images. All you need to take part is access to a computer and an internet connection, the citizen science team have created user-friendly guides to help you use the system and learn how to identify the animals.
By tagging the animals in the images as a citizen scientist you are directly contributing data to scientists that are responsible for conserving our threatened species.
Still looking for more projects to get involved with? The SEED Citizen Science Hub has been set up to support and grow citizen science in NSW. There are many different types of projects on this platform, both field or computer based. Find out which projects you can participate in here.