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 contribute 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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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 National Park. Citizen scientists can help by contributing important information.
The nest box monitoring project is an example of how citizen scientists are helping. NPWS 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 adapted a smartphone app, called Quest-a-Game, so visitors can monitor which nest boxes are being used, and what animals are using them.
Citizen scientists are also helping to monitor bird activity by recording which bird species are returning to the park and when they are returning. The aim 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 park and upload them to an online gallery using the BioCollect app. The gallery shows how plants are recovering from the 2013 bushfire.
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.