Margot Law, Citizen Science Officer
NPA has helped over 400 private landholders from South East NSW answer the question “Who’s living on my land?” using infrared cameras to survey their land for wildlife. We have analysed approximately half a million photographs of native and pest species found on private land and uploaded the records to public databases; filling important knowledge gaps as most of NSW species records come from public land.
From 2015-2018, we ran 21 citizen science workshops in collaboration with South East Local Land Services, the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, Landcare, Wingecarribee Shire Council, and Land for Wildlife, with funding from the National Landcare Programme.
Participating landholders had the opportunity to become a citizen scientist for two weeks and put up an infrared camera on their property to search for wildlife. Infrared cameras work by detecting heat in motion; it gets triggered to take a photograph whenever a warm-blooded animal walks in front of it and works both day and night. These cameras are a great new tool being used to survey animals because they are non-intrusive and can be easily used by anyone.
Some people participating in the ‘Who’s living on my land?’ wildlife survey were surprised with what they found. Landholders discovered Koalas, Spotted-tailed Quolls and deer that they didn’t know were present. It’s not hard to imagine that it’s hard to conserve a species or create a pest management plan if you don’t know what’s there.
We have added more than 2,700ha of private land to the Land for Wildlife network, following landholders taking part in our surveys. Land for Wildlife is a handshake agreement conservation program which assists landholders to change their management practices. Additionally, some landholders have purchased their own cameras to continue monitoring and searching for new species on their property.
Our funding to run regular ‘Who’s living on my land?’ workshops runs out in October 2018. If you or your landcare group is interested in hosting a Who’s living on my land? workshop in your local area please get in touch with NPA’s Citizen Science Officer, Margot Law 9299 0000, to discuss your options.