citizen science

Blue Mountain View is a laboratory for citizen science projects. Such projects tap into a valuable community resource while enhancing participants’ ecological literacy and commitment. Monitoring wildlife populations, such as bird counts, is a popular form that helps to reveal the species composition and abundance in surveyed localities. Citizen science has over the past two decades expanded into a huge variety of niches, including tracking marine plastic debris, bird counts, butterfly counts, and cetacean sightings, among many examples. Improvements in information technology, both in recording and sharing the data such as GPS and remote camera monitoring, have expanded opportunities for citizen science to engage larger audiences of volunteers.

  

Currently, Blue Mountain View participates in two such projects for monitoring biodiversity. One is the Southeast Tasmania Pilot Program, began in late 2016, that is orchestrated by a consortium of local community groups and government partners, which recruits landowners in the region to establish wildlife monitoring sites on their properties. Provided with bird recorders and camera traps, and given training, landowners periodically record information about local biodiversity and habitat conditions which ‘will be used to design better conservation programs and target feral animal control in the landscape. Some of the results of this project relating to Blue Mountain View are detailed in the fauna webpage of this website.

  

Another project monitors bats. Small and furry, bats are mammals of the order of animals scientifically called Chiroptera (Latin for ‘hand-wing’), with the unique ability to fly. Some 1100 species of bats exist worldwide, with at least 8 and possibly 9 species regularly inhabiting Tasmania. The Huon Valley Roamers Landcare Group is trying to find out through its new citizen science project, which includes Blue Mountain View, which bats inhabit its region. With financial assistance of the Huon Valley Council’s Natural Resource Management Unit, the project began in March 2017 with a training program in bat detection using the Echo Meter Touch units. When connected to one’s IPad or IPhone, the Echo Meters allow users to record and listen to bat calls in real-time and apply GPS tags to identify their exact location. The initial bat monitoring conducted by Roamers detected 7 of Tasmania’s cohort of bat species, and 3 of these species detected in Blue Mountain View: the goulds wattled bat, lesser long-eared bat, and the southern forest bat. The Echo Meters allow users to identify bat species as each has a unique echolocation pattern, which can be verified with the records in the authoritative booklet, Tasmanian Bats and their Habitat – A Guide. The resulting database will be collated and analysed by the Roamers’ committee, in order to create a unique resource for understanding Tasmania’s bats in the Huon Valley. It will help build local knowledge of the distribution and abundance of Tasmania's micro bat species and raise community awareness of their positive contribution to healthy ecosystems.