November 24, 2017

Calling all citizen scientists, South Australia is the place to be with an exciting national conference and two new projects.

Citizen science is taking off in South Australia, propelled by new events and projects. The Australian Citizen Science Conference is kicking off early next year, welcoming citizen science practitioners, participants, thought leaders and decision makers to Adelaide.

The Australian Citizen Science Conference will showcase best practice in citizen science and share project outcomes from across Australia and the world. Members of the public can attend to hear inspiring talks and presentations, including a special keynote from citizen science champion and Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel.

The conference is timely, given that two South Australian projects were recently awarded citizen science grants as part of the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme. The South Australian Museum and University of Adelaide were successful in their applications, which will result in two exciting, nationally-relevant, citizen science projects.

The South Australian Museum will uncover the secret lives of SA microbats, which are small in stature but mega important. The MEGA Murray Darling Microbat Project will see scientists from the museum and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources engage the local community to learn more about these tiny critters. Not much are known about the microbats, which have taken up residence at Botanic Park. But scientists hope to recruit participants with Batman-style gear, including ultrasonic bat detectors.

The University of Adelaide will deliver the first national observatory for all wild orchids in Australia through Wild Orchid Watch, appropriately abbreviated to WOW. The project will partner scientists from the University of Adelaide with orchid enthusiasts to uncover information about Australian orchids and their habitats. A WOW app is currently being developed to assist citizen scientists collect data about orchids.

It’s an exciting time for citizen science in South Australia. We hope to see as many South Australians getting outdoors and enjoying the wonders of science.