Volunteers to join ClimateWatch nature trail in the Sydney Botanic Gardens
3 November 2011
Visitors to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney can now become
'citizen scientists' with the first ClimateWatch
Trail in an Australian
Despite the threat of
climate change, Australia has no system for recording climate data on a
national scale. ClimateWatch will inspire the community to gather vast amounts
of data scientists need to address the impacts of climate change.
"ClimateWatch empowers every Australian to become a
citizen scientist, by collecting and recording data that will help shape the
country’s scientific response to climate change," said the Director of
Science and Public Programs at the Gardens Dr Brett Summerell who is also a
member of the National ClimateWatch Science Advisory Panel.
The trail around the Garden, created by the Volunteer Guides
in collaboration with EarthwatchAustralia, can be downloaded from climatewatch.org.au.
Dr Summerell said there is also opportunity for free (?) hands-on training at
"Volunteer Guides will be conducting regular
ClimateWatch walks in the coming months, starting this Thursday (25
November). They will show visitors how
to record plant and animal species that they see on the trail and then upload
the data onto the national ClimateWatch website managed by EarthwatchAustralia."
“Visitors can then in their
own time use their training to observe species from their own backyard, local
park or bushland and record information online at www.climatewatch.org.au,” Dr Summerell said.
Andy Donnelly, Earthwatch
Science Director says, “We're looking for those subtle shifts in the timing of
natural cycles across the country such as the falling of leaves or the
migration of birds.
“There are lots of things that bushwalkers
and birdwatchers notice in nature that never get recorded, so we are
encouraging everyone to take part."
Head Guide Jim Nicol said the ClimateWatch Trail was a
natural extension of the Volunteer Guides’ role observing, documenting and
sharing the life of the Garden.
“The Volunteer Guides are thrilled at this opportunity to
enlist our Garden visitors in the close observations that we find so
fulfilling. Once you are seeking out specific climate indicator species such as
the Firewheel Tree, Gymea Lily or the Fiddler Beetle to see what they are up
to, you really enter into the life of the place.” Mr Nicol said.
Dr Summerell paid tribute to the work of one of the founding
Volunteer Guides Dorothy Holland, now 90, who meticulously recorded the
flowering times of 6000 species of plants during the1980s.
“Dorothy’s work was
climate watch before ClimateWatch. It has given us important comparative data
from twenty-five years ago. It is a terrific contribution to the national
monitoring of our climate and a reminder that anyone can contribute to science
if they are willing to rigorously observe and record,” Dr Summerell said.
ClimateWatch Guided Walks
10 am, 25 November 2011
Where: Starts from the Information
Booth outside the Garden Shop (Palm Grove Centre), the Royal
Botanic Garden, Sydney.
For further information: 9231 8304
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Ph: 03 9682 6828
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