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After-fire Warrumbungle National Park: Citizen science

After the 2013 fire burnt almost 90 per cent of Warrumbungle National Park, visitors have been helping recovery efforts through the citizen science program. Citizen scientists are contributing useful data on plant and animal populations to support a range of projects co-designed by educators, scientists, nature enthusiasts, and park managers.

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Citizen scientists are helping to contribute important information. With so much area to cover and so much park to survey, it can be difficult for scientists and park managers to accurately measure the rate of recovery for plants and animals in Warrumbungle.

The nest box monitoring project is an example of how citizen scientists are helping out. NPWS have installed 400 pre-fabricated nest boxes and visitors are needed to help check on wildlife returning to the park. We are keen to see how successful the boxes are and have helped to adapt a smartphone App, called Quest-a-Game, so visitors can now help us monitor which nest boxes are being used, and what animals are using them.

Another example of a project is one about birds. The public is collecting information on what species are returning to the park and when they are returning. The purpose of this is to determine which flowering events correspond with the birds returning. Feedback from visitors augments data that park management has already collected on the relationship between bird species and vegetation.\

Citizen scientists can also take photographs at photo points in the national park, and upload them to an online gallery that will show how plants are recovering from the 2013 bushfire. You can use the WarrumbungleSnap app to upload your photos to the gallery.

Even school kids are getting involved in research and recovery efforts. A monitoring program, run in partnership with the Warrumbungle Environmental Education Centre, aims to examine the health and condition of park streams after the devastating fire, by sampling for aquatic macroinvertebrates.

Parks related to this program

View from Fan's Horizon lookout, Warrumbungle National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary