The Australian Museum’s Eureka Prizes are the country’s most comprehensive national science awards, honouring excellence across the areas of research & innovation, leadership, science engagement, and school science.
Presented annually in partnership with some of the nation’s leading scientific institutions, government organisations, universities and corporations, the Eureka Prizes raise the profile of science and science engagement in the community by celebrating outstanding achievement.
On 31st August 2022, I was honoured to be the guest of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Environment Recovery Project who had been shortlisted for the Department of Industry, Science and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science. As the most prolific contributor, I added over 3,500 observations, many with multiple photos and predominantly from my 500 acre property, to the project on iNaturalist.org.
The fantastic news is that they won! Huge congratulations to Casey Kirchhoff, Thomas Mesaglio, Assoc Prof Will Cornwell, and Prof Richard Kingsford.
I will continue to add observations to the project which is ongoing, and plan to extend my captures to other locations in bushfire affected areas.
I can’t express enough how, despite the devastation and loss of life caused by the 2020 bushfires, becoming a citizen scientist and wildlife rescuer has given me new purpose, much needed after losing my beloved husband Pete to cancer in 2018.
In addition to my involvement with the Environment Recovery Project, I have been busy with other citizen scientist related projects, including:
1) Creating a powerpoint presentation on How To Be a Citizen Scientist which I have given to various local communities.
2) Providing specimens of the Serrated Firetail Yoyetta serrata for inclusion in the Australian Museum’s collection.
3) Providing specimens of the Curly-leaf Pondweed Potamogeton crispus to CSIRO Brisbane to aid in research to test the specificity of a candidate biological control agent against plant species related to a target South American weed.
3) Becoming a wildlife rescuer, trained to rescue (or euthanise if necessary) macropods (kangaroos and wallabies), wombats, reptiles, snakes, birds, and possums. I hope to attend workshops on caring for raptors and koalas soon.
4) Thanks to the Humane Society International, wombat pre-release enclosures are being built at my property, ready for four young wombats to come next month. There’ll be videos and photos of these amazing Australian animals as they learn how to be wombats before being let out in the wild! Watch this blog for more info.
5) My property is now a wildlife sanctuary as part of the Humane Society International’s Wildlife Land Trust, and I am in the process of signing an agreement with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust to ensure my land’s high conservation value is protected in perpetuity.
More on each of my projects soon.