From the desk of Sandra, Regional Ecologist.
October was a special month for citizen science and biodiversity in the South Coast region, with separate BioBlitzes occurring across two significant patches of environment – the Walpole Wilderness and Mt Hallowell in Denmark. A BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. A Bioblitz is also known as a biological inventory or biological census. The primary goal of a BioBlitz is to get an overall count of the plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms that live in a place.
Both events were attended by a plethora of citizen scientists who enthusiastically carried out surveying activities under the guidance of scientific experts.
The Walpole BioBlitz
The Walpole Wilderness is an area with a wide range of habitats including wetlands, heath, granite outcrops, waterholes, tall forests and open woodlands plus two endemic tall trees, the Tingle (Eucalyptus brevistylis) and the Yorgum aka Red-Flowering Gum (Corymbia ficifolia). An impressive 170 people attended the BioBlitz and more than 3700 observations were uploaded to iNaturalist, with over 650 species identified, including 19 threatened species.
Mt Hallowell Bioblitz
Mt Hallowell is an iconic reserve, with sweeping views, natural bushland, rock features and Noongar cultural sites. It supports a significant diversity of vegetation comprising of forests of karri and woodlands of mixed jarrah, blackbutt, paperbark, shrublands and heathlands.
Large numbers of volunteers turned out for the BioBlitz and teams of volunteers were involved in recording many species, including birds, flora, invertebrates and fungi and listening to local experts about the importance of the reserve.
Our Regional Ecologist, Sandra Gilfillan, attended both BioBlitzes, contributing valuable knowledge and experience to her citizen science team. A particular highlight was the amazing plant diversity discovered by her group of citizen scientists in the Walpole BioBlitz and the confirmation of black cockatoo breeding at Mt Hallowell.
A big thankyou to the organisers of both events, Walpole-Nornalup National Park Association (Walpole Wilderness) and Denmark Environment Centre (Mt Hallowell). You can be involved in citizen science by looking out for the next BioBlitz in your area, downloading and using the iNaturalist app and recording biodiversity at any time. Or you can join our dedicated team of volunteers by signing up to the South Coast Enviro-Experiences volunteer web platform where you will gain access to amazing volunteering activities across the South Coast region.