Citizen Science projects wrap up

‘Wild Wild Inner West’

The Wild Wild Inner West (WWIW) project aims to engage young adults (18-35 years old), a group which is under-represented in council environmental activities, with the local urban environment. Despite the lack of remnant vegetation, Sydney’s Inner West is home to a rich variety of native wildlife like bees, powerful owls and microbats that are reclaiming the urban landscape.

After a very full year of programming the project has now finished. The WWIW provided urban ecology workshops and nature education walks to inform young adults about urban nature in their local aea and what they can do to improve this habitat.

We had over 200 people attend 12 different events. These events spanned a wide range of topics from urban nature pub talks, a film on urban nature, ecology tours (on Ibis, microbats and pollinators), educational workshops (on building microbat roost boxes and planting with native plants), water quality testing, and Aboriginal Culture and Ecology walks (and canoe rides!). The project has been a part of the Sydney Science Festival, the Sydney Design Festival and the Wurridjal Festival and we even got a 20-minute feature interview on (very hip) local radio station FBI radio.

‘Bringing Back the Buzz’

‘Bringing Back the Buzz to the Cumberland Plain Woodland’ is helping to restore the endangered ecosystem of the Cumberland Plain Woodland (CPW), along with its insect pollinators and butterflies, which is now surrounded by housing.

Over the course of the project we have worked with Liverpool, Camden and Campbelltown Councils to set up new bushcare groups for these isolated fragments of CPW. We are monitoring the pollinator response to bush regeneration as they are vital to the success of a healthy and functioning ecosystem.

After a bee-autiful three years the project is about to come to a close. At the time of writing, across our six sites we collected six seasons worth of pollinator data. We observed 40 species of pollinators in our surveys, with pollinators from six surveys yet to be processed. Once this has been done we can analyse the data and assess the species richness of our plots and whether this changed across the years in response to regeneration works. How exciting!

We have found a wide array of butterflies like the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus), Imperial Jezebel (Delias harpalyce) and Cabbage White (Pieris rapae); and native bees like the Sugarbag Bee (Tetragonula carbonaria) and the Resin Bee (Megachile campanulae) and Blue Banded Bee (Amegilla cingulate) across our plots. However, we have noticed that the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera – introduced species) and Hoverflies (Syrphidae family) are the only two species that are frequently in high abundance in our plots.

We have also held five community working bees on how to construct bee hotels, have taught 330 local students about bushcare and pollinators, and have created close to 400 small bee hotels which have been put up in the local area. To top this all off five of the six sites now have active bushcare groups to ensure the ongoing restoration of the CPW. Hive five!

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