Citizen Science for school students

Citizen science projects are a great way to engage school students in scientific research and environmental monitoring. In Australia, there are several projects that students can get involved in.

Here are some examples:

Students can participate in wildlife monitoring and observation projects. You can report sightings of native animals like birds, possums, or kangaroos through platforms like the Urban Wildlife App

FrogID is a project by the Australian Museum that involves recording and identifying frog calls. Students can use the FrogID app to record frog calls in their local area. This data helps researchers monitor frog populations and biodiversity.

Seek by iNaturalist allows curious naturalists of all ages to earn badges and participate in challenges to observe organisms with on-screen identification using computer vision for identifications based on data from iNaturalist.

The National Waterbug Blitz is a nationwide waterway monitoring event. Everyone is encouraged to become ‘citizen scientists’ and investigate the health their local waterways and wetlands by exploring and identifying the waterbugs.

Students can learn about local flora by participating in tree planting initiatives and surveys of native plants. This helps with reforestation efforts and conserving native species. The School Tree Day is on 26 July 2024

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is a great birdwatching and monitoring projects. Students can participate in bird surveys, recording the species they see and their behaviours.

The Australian Pollinator Count is taking place during Australian Pollinator Week, from 11-19  November. Taking part is quick and easy. You simply need to observe some flowers for 10 minutes, record the pollinators you see and register your results.

Australia has a unique range of native bee species. Students can learn about these bees and participate in bee monitoring projects to help researchers understand and protect these important pollinators.

Students can set up weather stations at their schools or homes and contribute to climate data collection. Organizations like the Bureau of Meteorology offer resources and guidelines for setting up these stations.

To get involved in these projects, students can often find information on the websites of relevant organizations, science institutions, or local community groups. It’s also a good idea to reach out to teachers, as many schools have partnerships with organizations that offer citizen science opportunities. These projects not only provide valuable data for research but also offer a hands-on and engaging way for students to learn about the environment and scientific processes.

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Celebrating Biodiversity Month

September is Biodiversity Month, a time to celebrate our natural wonders and diverse ecosystems. Biodiversity Month offers us the perfect opportunity to pause and appreciate the beauty, complexity, and importance of biodiversity. Biodiversity Month also encourages us to reflect on our relationship with the natural world and take action to protect it.

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Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth and is typically a measure of variation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level.

Genetic diversity

Genetic diversity is the variety of genes within a species. Each species is made up of individuals that have their own particular genetic composition. This means a species may have different populations, each having different genetic compositions. To conserve genetic diversity, different populations of a species must be conserved.

Species diversity

Species diversity is the variety of species within a habitat or a region. Some habitats, such as rainforests and coral reefs, have many species. Others, such as salt flats or a polluted stream, have fewer. In Australia, more than 80% of plant and animal species are endemic, which means that they only occur naturally in Australia.

Ecosystem diversity

Ecosystem diversity is the variety of ecosystems in a given place. An ecosystem is a community of organisms and their physical environment interacting together. An ecosystem can cover a large area, such as a whole forest, or a small area, such as a pond.

Biodiversity Month serves as a reminder of the extraordinary diversity of life on our planet and the importance of preserving it. Biodiversity is not just a concern for scientists and conservationists; it’s a global responsibility that each of us can contribute to in our own way. Whether through education, advocacy, or personal lifestyle choices, we can all play a role in safeguarding the web of life that sustains us. So, this September, let’s celebrate and protect the incredible biodiversity that enriches our world.

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National Tree Planting Day

Trees play a vital role in supporting life on Earth and their significance encompasses ecological, environmental, social, and economic aspects. You can make a difference by planting tree on any day especially Schools Tree Day on Friday 28th July, National Tree Day is Sunday 30th July.

Australian dry forest

Here are some key reasons why trees are essential:

  1. Oxygen production: Trees are primary producers of oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen, making the air we breathe cleaner and more breathable.
  2. Carbon sequestration: Trees act as natural carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. They play a critical role in mitigating the effects of global warming by reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  3. Biodiversity support: Forests, which are primarily composed of trees, are incredibly diverse ecosystems that provide habitat and sustenance for a vast array of plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms. Trees contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and help maintain a balanced ecosystem.
  4. Soil conservation: Tree roots help prevent soil erosion, which is crucial for maintaining fertile soil and preventing landslides and desertification.
  5. Water cycle regulation: Trees influence the water cycle by absorbing and releasing water through their roots and leaves. They help regulate rainfall patterns, prevent floods, and maintain groundwater levels.
  6. Climate regulation: Large forests and mature trees have a moderating effect on local and global climates. They regulate temperature, humidity, and precipitation patterns, creating a more stable environment.
  7. Wildlife habitat: Trees provide shelter, food, and nesting sites for a wide range of animal species, including birds, mammals, and insects. Many creatures rely on trees for their survival.
  8. Economic value: Trees are essential for various industries, including timber, paper, and pharmaceuticals. They provide raw materials for construction, furniture, and other products, supporting economies and livelihoods.
  9. Aesthetic and recreational benefits: Trees enhance the beauty of landscapes, parks, and urban areas, contributing to the overall well-being and mental health of people. Green spaces with trees offer opportunities for relaxation and recreation.
  10. Air quality improvement: Trees act as natural air purifiers, filtering harmful pollutants and particulate matter from the air, which is especially crucial in urban environments with high levels of pollution.
  11. Noise reduction: Trees can absorb and dampen sound, reducing noise pollution and creating a more peaceful environment.
  12. Health benefits: Interacting with trees and spending time in natural environments has been shown to have positive effects on mental and physical health, reducing stress, anxiety, and promoting overall well-being.

Given their numerous ecological and societal benefits, the preservation and responsible management of trees and forests are essential for the long-term health and sustainability of our planet.

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World Environment Day 2023: Beat Plastic Pollution

More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year worldwide and less than 10 per cent is recycled. Over half of the plastics produced every year is designed to be used only once. Discarded or burnt single-use plastic harms human health and biodiversity and pollutes every ecosystem from mountain tops to the ocean floor. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in lakes, rivers and seas annually.

Plastic pollution has emerged as one of the greatest environmental challenges facing our planet. The durability of plastic coupled with its improper disposal and inadequate recycling infrastructure has led to its accumulation in landfills, waterways, and oceans. This issue is particularly relevant for Australia, given its vast coastline and marine biodiversity, making it crucial to address the impact of plastic pollution on the nation’s fragile ecosystems.

We need to make a nationwide commitment to combat plastic pollution and implement sustainable practices. Governments, in collaboration with environmental organizations, local communities, and businesses need to work together to to find a long term solution including:

  1. Promoting Awareness and Education
  2. Expansions on Plastic-Free Initiatives
  3. Investing in Recycling Infrastructure
  4. Collaborative Partnerships.
  5. Supporting Research and Innovation

World Environment Day theme for 2023 is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matters.  Try some of these idea to help you reduce your plastic waste.

Tips to reduce plastic waste and to prevent ocean pollution

Australia stands at the forefront of the global battle against plastic pollution. The nation’s commitment to reducing plastic waste, promoting awareness, and fostering sustainable practices demonstrates its dedication to preserving our unique natural environment. From protecting biodiversity to addressing climate change, promoting sustainable practices to fostering Indigenous stewardship, We are taking significant steps towards creating an environmentally responsible nation. However, the journey towards sustainability is ongoing, and it requires continuous efforts from individuals, communities, and governments alike. Let us unite in our commitment to preserve and restore our precious ecosystems, ensuring a greener and brighter future for Australia and the world.

Together, we can make a difference. Happy World Environment Day!

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Celebrating World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day is an annual event celebrated worldwide on May 23rd to raise awareness about the conservation of turtles and their habitats.

Marine turtle
© David Troeger on Unsplash

Turtles are one of the oldest living reptiles on earth, and they have been around for over 200 million years. They are an important part of the Australian ecosystem, playing a vital role in maintaining the balance of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Turtles are also considered to be keystone species, which means they have a disproportionate effect on the environment relative to their abundance.

There are six species of marine turtles found in Australian waters, including the Green Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, Flatback Turtle and Leatherback Turtle. They are all listed as Endangered or Vulnerable to extinction.

Image credit: Sea Turtle Foundation

World Turtle Day provides a platform for raising awareness about the conservation needs of these fascinating creatures and encourages action to protect their habitats. It serves as a reminder that we all have a role to play in preserving and safeguarding our natural environment for future generations.

How You Can Make a Difference: On World Turtle Day, and beyond, there are several ways in which you can contribute to turtle conservation:

  1. Reduce plastic consumption: Minimize single-use plastics and participate in local beach clean-ups to prevent marine debris from polluting turtle habitats.
  2. Support conservation organizations: Donate to reputable organizations focused on turtle conservation efforts in Australia and around the world.
  3. Promote responsible tourism: Choose eco-friendly travel operators that prioritize sustainable practices and adhere to guidelines for responsible wildlife encounters.
  4. Educate and raise awareness: Share information about World Turtle Day on social media, organize local events, and engage in conversations that highlight the importance of turtle conservation.
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Honouring our Fuzzy Pollinators on World Bee Day

World Bee Day is celebrated on 20 May every year. It is a day dedicated to the awareness of the vital role bees play in our ecosystem. Bees are responsible for pollinating a third of the food we eat and without them our food supply is at threat. They also play a critical role in the reproduction of plants and the production of honey, making them a crucial part of our natural world.

World Bee Day

Unfortunately, bees are facing a number of threats, including habitat loss, pesticide use, climate change, and disease. As a result, bee populations around the world are declining at an alarming rate. This decline is not only a threat to bees themselves but also to our food supply and the overall health of our ecosystem.

Australia has more than 1600 native bee species. There could be as many as 2000 to 3000 still to be identified. Australian native bees are wonderful pollinators, especially for our native plants. There are a number of actions we can take to support bee populations and protect their habitats.

Plant bee-friendly flowers and plants in your backyard. Bees rely on nectar and pollen from flowers for their food, so planting flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen can help support bee populations. Great examples include native flowers, lavender and sunflowers.

Avoid using pesticides as they can be harmful to bees and other pollinators. If you must use pesticides, choose ones that are bee-friendly and apply them in the early morning or late evening when bees are not active.

Bees need shelter to protect themselves from the elements and predators. You can help by providing bee houses or leaving dead wood and leaf litter in your garden. Make an Insect Hotel for your Fuzzy Pollinators this World Bee day.

Spread awareness and educate others about the importance of bees and the threats they face. Encourage your friends, family, and community to take action to protect bees and their habitats.

World Bee Day is an opportunity to appreciate the incredible work that bees do for our ecosystem and to take action to protect them. By taking small steps to support bee populations, we can help ensure that they continue to thrive and play their important role in our world.

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Roaring Back in Time

National Dinosaur Day is a time to celebrate Australian Dinosaurs is celebrated on 7 May every year. This special day is a time to recognize and appreciate these incredible prehistoric creatures that roamed the Earth millions of years ago.

The first known dinosaur fossil was discovered in England in the early 1800s. Since then, hundreds of species have been identified all over the world, including Australia. The study of dinosaurs has provided us with invaluable insights into the evolution of life on our planet.

Dinosaur Fossils in Australia

Queensland, in particular, boasts some of Australia’s most significant dinosaur discoveries. The Dinosaur Trail and Winton is the gateway to the prehistoric past. I visited the world-renowned Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum last year, you can see ongoing fossil discoveries and even participate in dinosaur digs. One of the most remarkable dinosaur fossil discoveries in the areas is “Banjo,” Australia’s most complete carnivorous dinosaur.

Whether you are a lifelong dinosaur enthusiast or just starting to learn about these amazing creatures, today is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate their place in history and learn more about the science behind their existence. With new discoveries and advancements in technology, the study of dinosaurs continues to fascinate and inspire people of all ages. So why not join in the fun and celebrate? You never know what you might learn!

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SeaWeek 2023

SeaWeek is Australia’s major national public awareness campaign to focus community awareness and appreciation of the sea. This week-long event is held every year in March and provides a great opportunity to learn about marine environment. So, take a dive under the water this SeaWeek and explore our amazing marine environments with me.

Seaweek graphic

It was great to be able to spend time diving over the last few week exploring the marine environment around Sydney.

Marine Life title slide

Explore the amazing diversity of Marine Life. Take a journey beneath the waves to explore this wonderful world. Learn about some of these incredible animals, their adaptions and habitats with the resources below.

Where the river meets the sea title slide

Follow the journey of water down the river through the catchment to the sea. Water is essential for all forms of life and the small amount of available freshwater create competing pressures for our water resources. 

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2022: it’s a wrap

What a year it has been! 2022 started with continued restrictions in the education sector. As the year progressed restrictions were reduced and face to face session were able to resume. It was also great to participate in community events again.

Australian Environmental Education 2022 in review

15,000 people were reached across all the programs and events during 2022. Over 150,000 people visited 250,000 pages across the website for their earth and environmental science needs. There were 6.6 million impressions on Google, with the Noises in the Night , Geologic Timescale and the Scientific Method the top 3 performing pages.


Education services finalist poster

Finalist in the 2022 Local Business Awards: Northern Districts for Outstanding Education Services and Outstanding Business Person of the Year.

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Australian Environmental Education was awarded ‘Top Sustainability Blogs’ of 2022 by Twinkl

2022 was a great year and I’m looking forward to see what 2023 brings.

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Amazing Minerals

Last week I visited the new Minerals Exhibition at the Australian Museum. It was amazing to see the minerals collection on display again. All my old favourite specimens were back along with new specimens and interactives.

I have loved rocks and minerals my whole life and started my rock collection when I was 4 years old. Thankfully it has improved in quality since then and I have moved past painting river stones in my backyard.


One of my favourite objects from the old museum’s display has always been a large Molybdenite specimen. Molybdenite is extremely soft with a metallic luster.

I would talk about that specimen when I took highlight tours as a volunteer at the Australian Museum over 25 years ago. I loved that is was a metal, but very soft and that one of its uses was as an industrial lubricant. There are so many other stories connected with the amazing mineral collection and my time at the museum. It was an honour to be able share my passion with visitors for so many years.

If you don’t already have one, I challenge you to find your favourite rock or mineral. Why not start your search at your local natural history museum and find your passion.

If you are in Sydney check out the new minerals exhibition at the Australian Museum. A visit to this new exhibition is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon or explore with the kids school holidays.

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