Schools involved in the 2022 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future challenge are well advanced on their SDG journey of discovery and are in the process of designing and delivering their Community Action Project (CAP). To empower students’ further Action4Agriculture connects them with influencers in our communities who work with us to create change and offer opportunities to engage with special projects. One such opportunity is with PlantingSeeds who can train everyday Aussies to be citizen scientists.
Let’s find out more.
PlantingSeeds is an environmental protection and sustainable education initiative under the passionate direction of Dr Judy Friedlander. Judy grew up exploring nature in the backyard of her Sydney home, discovering tadpoles and frogs in waterways and spotting koalas in the trees of Pittwater – in the days when this was a common sight. Throughout her journalistic career Judy championed the environment and then translated this to tertiary study with a Masters and PhD before founding PlantingSeeds in 2015.
PlantingSeeds offers a range of programs designed to engage and educate, all backed by science, research and evidence.
“Our key initiative is called the B&B Highway, which stands for bed and breakfasts for bees, birds and biodiversity. So, we’re literally talking about the need to help our wildlife with what they eat and where they sleep. We focus on plants and pollinators because they’re species that people can relate to and that are in the urban environment; and also because we have an alarming decline in our pollinator numbers,” Judy says.
The B&B Highway is both educational and practical and has established nearly 100 hubs for regenerative corridors. This involves planting native plants and establishing constructed habitat such as a nesting box or native stingless beehive. The educational aspects involve teachers and students learning about biodiversity, plants and pollinators and connecting them to biodiversity web databanks such as iNaturalist, which hosts the B&B Highway.
iNaturalist is an example of citizen science where anyone with a smart device can contribute to the identification and, ultimately, protection of fauna and flora. Judy is keen for more people to become citizen scientists and invites schools and students to be part of the B&B BioBlitz (also hosted on iNaturalist) during National Biodiversity Month in September.
“Citizen Science is very easy and really important because this data can help scientists and experts learn more about patterns and how we can help species. We will also be running workshops for teachers prior to BioBlitz to teach them about citizen science and how to do it,” Judy says.
During BioBlitz, an Australia-wide event, students will have the opportunity to gather information about their local biodiversity and enter a photography competition with smart phones up for grabs.
“We’re excited that our organisation is proactive in bringing citizen science to Australians with this program, which is supported by NSW Department of Education, CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia, Australian Citizen Science Association, Environmental and Zoo Education Centres, Landcare and Action4Agriculture,” Judy says.
Download the Bioblitz flyer here
Learn more about Citizen science: crowd sourcing and crowd-pleasing STEM
activities for schools here
Read more about Judy, PlantingSeeds and citizen science here
If your school and students would like to be more involved and become citizen scientists send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org